In the U.S., two recent lawsuits have exposed the pervasiveness of caste dynamics far beyond the borders of South Asia.

The first lawsuit was filed in June 2020 against the software company Cisco Systems. Brought by the California Department for Fair Employment and Housing, it alleges that the company failed to address caste discrimination against an employee from the Dalit caste by two supervisors from more privileged caste backgrounds.

The second was filed in May 2021 against the Hindu trust BAPS (Bochasanwasi Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha), a nonprofit that since 2009 has had the status of a 501 (c)(3) organization. It was brought by lawyers representing a group of Dalits who claim that they were brought to the United States under the R1 visa for religious workers and forced into underpaid, exploitative construction work on a Hindu temple in New Jersey. Both lawsuits reveal practices of caste discrimination and exploitation within America’s racially stratified workforce.

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