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Parsons Corporation faces federal suit for systemic age and racism discrimination

A federal lawsuit has been filed against defense contractor Parsons Corporation by a longtime employee alleging employment discrimination.

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A federal lawsuit has been filed against defense contractor Parsons Corporation (NYSE: PSN) by a longtime employee alleging employment discrimination. The lawsuit, filed in the Northern District of Alabama, details systemic discriminatory behavior against the 78-year-old employee of Indian descent, that culminated in his abrupt firing after speaking in Hindi on a call to his dying brother-in-law. 

The case, Varshney v. Parsons Corporation, was filed by Maynard Nexsen on behalf of Anil Varshney, a distinguished defense engineer whose life’s work has supported innovative, advanced missile defense systems for the United States. Despite receiving numerous awards and commendations over his career, and Parsons publicly touting their commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Mr. Varshney maintains that he was regularly subjected to derogatory and racially charged behavior and held to different standards than younger, white employees.   

The complaint alleges that Mr. Varshney was removed after he was accused of committing “security violations” when speaking in Hindi to a dying relative. According to the suit, Parsons failed to produce evidence of wrongdoing, blocked Mr. Varshney from attaining employment, and treated younger, white employees differently, including terminating older engineers and offering them lower-paying jobs. A 2021 report from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace cited one in two Indian Americans reported being discriminated against in the calendar year.

“I love this great country and state, which I have called my home for over 50 years. I have devoted my life to strengthening the defense of this nation. Our kids, all proud American citizens raised in Alabama, are Rhodes Scholars, senior corporate executives, and physicians. And yet, despite Parsons’ bold public proclamation of “Creating Space for Everyone,” that was not my experience and is not the experience for too many others,” said Mr. Varshney. 

Federal contractors are required to adhere to strict nondiscrimination requirements. In addition to its discriminatory employment practices, there is little racial and ethnic diversity in its Executive Leadership and Board of Directors. Despite that, Parsons received more than $2 billion in government contracts in April 2023 alone.

The lawsuit, which also names the Department of Defense, describes the defendants’ violations of federal and state laws including under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) and the Alabama Age Discrimination in Employment Act (AADEA).  Mr. Varshney seeks full and clear reinstatement and millions of dollars in compensatory and punitive damages.

A copy of the complaint can be viewed HERE.

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