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U.S. Courts Have Jurisdiction to Hear a Class-Action Lawsuit brought by Non-U.S. Citizens Against a Foreign-Based Employer

The U.S. District Court in the Northern District of California has granted a motion for two non-U.S. workers to continue a class-action lawsuit against their India-based information technology provider, Tata Consultancy Services, Ltd., and its parent firm, Tata Sons, Ltd. The Court certified two classes: one consisting of all non-U.S. citizens who were employed by Tata in the U.S. any time from Feb. 14, 2002, through June 30, 2005, and who were sent to the U.S. after Jan. 1, 2002; and a California class asserting California Labor Code violations, consisting of all non-U.S. citizens who were employed by Tata in California at any time from Feb. 14, 2002, through June 30, 2005, and who were sent to California after Jan. 1, 2002. Vedachalam v. Tata America International Corp., 06-cv-00963, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (Oakland)

This ruling was consistent with a 2009 decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Northern California which denied a motion by Tata to compel arbitration of the lawsuit in India and to dismiss the nationwide class-action lawsuit.

In the case in dispute, two non-U.S. citizen employees, Gopi Vedachalam and Kangana Beri, were sent to the U.S. from India to do software projects. Before they could receive a paycheck, Vendachalam and Beri alleged that Tata forced them and other non-U.S. citizen employees to sign over their federal and state tax refunds to Tata. The two men also alleged that Tata deducted their Indiana salary from their U.S. pay depriving them of California wages. Both actions are a violation of California Labor Law.

The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) allows U.S. employers, including in the State of Nevada, to hire foreign workers on a temporary or permanent basis to perform certain types of work. The U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Employment and Training Administration (ETA) generally grants certification to employers to hire foreign workers in cases where there are insufficient qualified U.S. workers available and willing to perform work at wages that meet or exceed the prevailing wage paid for that occupation in the area of intended employment.

The Las Vegas law office of Lagomarsino Law did not represent anyone involved in the above-referenced case. The commentary is for educational and commentary purposes only. If you would like to be represented by a Nevada attorney, contact our office for a free confidential case review and receive a response within hours. Call Toll Free 866-414-0400.