A recent decision by the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey recognizes that an employer filing a lawsuit against an employee because he asserted a discrimination claim against it can be an act of unlawful retaliation in violation of the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (“LAD”) and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”).
The retaliation claim was asserted by Jean-Claude Franchitti and Vartan Piroumian, two former employees of Cognizant Technology Solutions Corporation and Cognizant Technology Solutions U.S. Corporation. Mr. Franchitti was Cognizant’s Chief Architect and Assistant Vice President, and Mr. Piroumian was its Principal Architect and Enterprise Architect.
Mr. Franchitti and Mr. Piroumian each previously asserted discrimination and retaliation claims against Cognizant. Mr. Franchitti filed a Charge of Discrimination with the United States Equal Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) asserting age discrimination, national origin discrimination and retaliation, as well as a subsequent lawsuit in California asserting the same claims, a claim under the False Claims Act alleging the company was engaging in visa fraud, and a lawsuit in New York alleging retaliation. Mr. Piroumian has filed two Charges of Discrimination against Cognizant with the EEOC alleging unlawful discrimination and retaliation.