The Caravan

Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing

Addressing the people in Baltimore in 1864, US President Abraham Lincoln said, “The shepherd drives the wolf from the sheep’s throat, for which the sheep thanks the shepherd as a liberator, while the wolf denounces him for the same act as the destroyer of liberty, especially as the sheep was a black one. Plainly the sheep and the wolf are not agreed upon a definition of the word liberty.”

On 9 March, the case California Department of Fair Employment and Housing vs Cisco Systems, Sundar Iyer & Ramana Kompella will come up for hearing before a state court in California. Last June, the DFEH filed suit before a federal court alleging that the IT giant Cisco had failed to address discrimination and harassment against one of its engineers, anonymised as “John Doe,” by two others, Iyer and Kompella. John Doe, a Dalit, had accused Iyer and Kompella, both Brahmins, of prejudiced treatment on the basis of his caste. The DFEH later withdrew the case from the federal court and filed in the state court instead. (It is generally believed that Californian state law has stronger anti-discrimination protections than US federal law.)

The Cisco case is being widely watched as a potential landmark in the United States, which

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