Vindication for Hindu and Indian Americans: Cisco Caste Lawsuit Against Sundar Iyer and Romana Kompella Dismissed

The dismissal of the baseless caste-based lawsuit against Sundar Iyer and Romana Kompella is a victory for justice.

Apr 18, 2023 - 15:59
Vindication for Hindu and Indian Americans: Cisco Caste Lawsuit Against Sundar Iyer and Romana Kompella Dismissed

By Jonathan Gomez

It is a moment of great relief and celebration for the Hindu and Indian American communities as the baseless caste-based lawsuit against Sundar Iyer and Romana Kompella has been dismissed. The lawsuit, filed nearly three years ago by California's Civil Rights Department (DRD), made false claims about the Hindu religion and xenophobic depictions of people of Indian origin, causing widespread outrage.

Iyer and Kompella, two Indian Americans, have been enduring a nightmare of unending investigations, a brutal online witch hunt, and a false presumption of guilt in the media after the CRD sullied their reputation alleging that they engaged in discrimination based on “caste” after a self-proclaimed Dalit who worked with them failed to secure a head of engineering position role that he refused to apply for in the first place. This has been a traumatic experience for the engineers and their families, and the dismissal of the case is a significant victory for them.

The dismissal came after the Hindu American Foundation (HAF) filed a claim in U.S. District Court that the CRD's case against Cisco and the engineers infringed on the civil rights of Hindus living in California by unconstitutionally and falsely asserting that Hinduism mandates caste discrimination. The CRD voluntarily dismissed its case after the claim was filed, however its litigation against the Silicon Valley tech giant is still active. The HAF’s claim was based on the fact that the CRD relied upon a debunked and false report by Equality Labs to bolster its claims of widespread caste discrimination in the tech sector, including at Cisco.

The judge presiding over the case refused to accept the Equality Labs report as evidence in February 2021, and this decision paved the way for the dismissal of the lawsuit against Iyer and Kompella. However, the CRD continued to pursue this misguided case under existing law where it belongs. And it remains that the best avenue for caste discrimination complaints are within existing categories such as national origin, ethnicity or ancestry.

The dismissal of this lawsuit is a significant victory for Hindu and Indian Americans and highlights the importance of standing up against baseless allegations and false narratives. It is a victory for justice. It sends a strong message that the state has no right to attribute wrongdoing to individuals simply because of their religion or ethnicity. The Indian American community has faced a significant and increasing amount of discrimination in North America based on a false media narrative and woke ideology and this victory is a step towards addressing the issue. Iyer and Kompella's resilience and courage in the face of false accusations are commendable. They have set an example for all of us to follow, and their victory is a victory for justice. We must continue to stand up against discrimination and false narratives and fight for justice for all. 

Jonathan Gomez Jonathan Gomez is a freelance writer with a degree in psychology and communications from the University of Colorado Boulder. His hobbies include soccer and fly-fishing Jonathan is passionate about challenging the culture of microaggressions that he believes has been perpetuated by the media's spread of misinformation. He is committed to working with minority communities to help amplify their voices, advocate for greater representation, and reclaim their narratives and achieve greater equity and justice in the media and society as a whole.