According to a federal lawsuit filed against the company, an Indian-American engineer claims he was fired from his longstanding position at the Alabama office of a missile defense contractor after he was overheard speaking Hindi during a video call.
AL.com reported on Monday that Anil Varshney, 78, filed a civil rights lawsuit against Parsons Corporation and U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin, whose department administers the United States Missile Defense Agency, in the Northern District of Alabama.
The lawsuit states that, “This case arises from the defendants’ deliberate actions to end Mr. Varshney’s highly distinguished engineering career because he is a 78-year-old Indian American.” “Defendants abruptly terminated Mr. Varshney after one of his white colleagues overheard him speaking Hindi to his dying brother-in-law in India and falsely reported him for a violation of’security regulations.'”
The attorney for the Virginia-based defense contractor, Sharon L. Miller, did not immediately respond to a phone message and an email requesting comment. In a response submitted with the court, Parsons denied any misconduct and requested dismissal of the lawsuit.
Lawsuit Alleges Wrongful Termination Over Video Call at Parsons Office
According to the lawsuit, Varshney, who worked at the Parsons office in Huntsville from July 2011 to October 2022, accepted a video call from his brother-in-law in an unoccupied cubicle and spoke with him for approximately two minutes. The company then asserted that he violated security by using the Facetime application on a restricted worksite and terminated his employment. He claims that no company policy prevented him from accepting the contact.
The lawsuit alleges that his dismissal disqualified him from future employment with the Missile Defense Agency. He began working for the federal agency in 2002 and continued until 2022, concurrently with his employment at Parsons. According to the lawsuit, he attained the American Dream as a result.