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South Asian castes create workplace discrimination stateside

South Asian immigrants in Pennsylvania have to navigate the race and class divides in this country as well as caste-based discrimination inherited from their cultural homelands. People from South Asian countries like India and Nepal represent one of the largest groups of immigrants. Between 2000 and 2010, their ethnic group grew at the fastest rate in the country. The ancient caste system that is prevalent among these societies prevents many association between different caste members. A survey of 1,200 people conducted by Equality Labs revealed that two-thirds of respondents had suffered caste discrimination in the United States.

Those who reported discrimination came from the group known as Dalits, who bear the burden of a low place within the caste system. They said that their caste had resulted in workplace discrimination and sometimes created barriers to educational opportunities. One-quarter of the Dalits said that they had even experienced physical assaults because of their caste.

A university anthropologist explained that the bulk of the latest influx of South Asian immigrants came from the Dalit caste. They encountered discrimination from the established immigrants who had largely come from higher castes. According to the survey, any type of workplace could be the scene of discrimination from factory assembly lines to large technology companies.

A person who wants information about employee rights might benefit from a consultation with an attorney. A legal analysis of the situation may reveal whether an employer violated laws by allowing workplace discrimination to occur. Civil rights laws are meant to protect workers from mistreatment based on race, religion, sex, disability or age. An attorney may assist the person with filing a complaint with the employer and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. After presenting evidence, an attorney might gain a financial settlement for the person.

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