Labor & Employment
In UK First, Attorney and Spouse Say Law Firm Forced Them Out Due to Caste Discrimination
Posted Aug 17, 2011 1:49 PM CST
By Martha Neil
In what is being billed as a first-of-its-kind case, a man and a woman of Indian descent have made a wrongful dismissal claim against a British law firm, saying they were forced out of their jobs due to caste discrimination.
After practice manager Vijay Begraj, 32, who is a Dalit, married solicitor Amardeep, 33, a Sikh Jat, others at the Heer Manak law firm in Coventry allegedly made it impossible for the two to continue working there because they were unhappy about a perceived caste clash, reports the Hindustan Times.
He was terminated and she says she was forced to quit by the extra work piled on her and other difficult conditions.
The claim is being heard by a Birmingham employment tribunal. The article doesn't include any comment from the law firm or its counsel.
However, a Daily Mail article that details the testimony before the tribunal says the firm has called the claim "outrageous."
British discrimination law at least arguably may not address the caste system issue (which also involves skin color). But the tribunal could also base a discrimination finding on a religious difference, which is apparently covered by the law, the Mail explains, because he is Hindu and she is Sikh.
In addition to being loaded with extra work, she says, she was denied staff support and paid less after others at the law office became aware of the romance.