South Asian Americans in Houston can face multiple forms of workplace discrimination, including the little-discussed case of caste discrimination. Caste hierarchy has an ancient history, but it has also been the target of campaigns for equality in South Asia as well as in the United States. In comparison to open discussions about caste in South Asian countries like India, Pakistan or Nepal, however, the impact of caste on a person's life may go unrecognized in the U.S.
A survey carried out by Equality Labs, a South Asian America human rights organization, found that a significant number of South Asians had suffered caste-based discrimination on the job in their U.S. workplaces. For example, around 66 percent of Dalits, members of the traditionally lowest caste, said that they have encountered workplace discrimination. Another 41 percent noted their experience with educational discrimination while 25 percent said that they had been physically assaulted due to their caste.
The director of Equality Labs said that a larger number of South Asians had immigrated to the United States more recently, especially members of lower castes. Many of these lower caste workers have encountered discrimination from other South Asian Americans in higher positions at their jobs. While personal issues relating to dating, relationships or arguments are a common experience, workplace discrimination that has taken jobs and income has been a frequent occurrence.
Despite the widespread experience with caste discrimination, it has been difficult for many to translate the experience into workplace discrimination claims. Caste issues may blend aspects of racial, religious or national origin discrimination in a complex manner.
Whether people are facing caste discrimination on the job or more common issues of racial, gender or disability discrimination, an employment lawyer may help workers subject to unfair treatment on the job. An attorney may be able to work with victims to file workplace discrimination claims and pursue action against the companies responsible.