Tech giant Apple has lost an early round of a lawsuit in which Indian engineer Anita Nariani Schulze accused her managers of treating her as subservient, constantly criticising her, micromanaging her work, and excluding her from meetings because of her Sindhi-Hindu ethnicity, NDTV reported on Thursday.
The Sindhi people are a minority community from the Sindh region, which was a part of India prior to the country's partition. It became the Sindh Province of Pakistan after the 1947 partition.
In a tentative ruling, Indian-origin judge Sunil R. Kulkarni of the Santa Clara County Superior Court rejected Apple's plea to put an end to the lawsuit.
In defence of his ruling, Kulkarni said that Schulze had in fact adequately supported her legal claims against the managers in question, whose names remain undisclosed.
Schulze claimed that her Indian and Pakistani managers were not only biased against her ancestry, but also alleged sexist and discriminatory behaviour by the pair.
Judge Kulkarni, however, rejected Schulze's request to widen the case to represent a class of female Apple employees who've suffered job discrimination since at least 2017.
Kulkarni sided with Apple when he said that the kind of discrimination Schulze brought forward focusing on her minority caste status could not be applied to a broader group of the tech titan's employees.
Apple is not the only US firm tackling lawsuits on office discrimination on the basis of an employee's caste.
US-based cybersecurity major Cisco has also been roped into a legal suit by California's civil rights agency alleging bias against a member of India's lower castes known as Dalits.
While Cisco reaffirmed the company has "zero tolerance for discrimination”, it also said the lawsuit should be tossed out since caste is not a protected category under the American Civil Rights Act.