13 Former UCSF Employees Sue State For ‘Harassment and Discrimination’

“This could not have happened absent unlawful age discrimination. Furthermore, all of them are United States citizens who were replaced by Indian nationals. This is unlawful national origin discrimination.”

This statement was made by Randall E. Strauss, an attorney from Gwilliam, Ivary, Chiosso, Cavalli and Brewer. Strauss is representing a group of 13 IT workers from UCSF whose jobs were outsourced to Indian workers. After being fired and forced to train their own replacements, the workers are suing the University of California Board of Regents, alleging both harassment and discrimination, according to the East Bay Times.

The lawsuit was filed late last month in Alameda County.

“The plaintiffs are claiming age discrimination and national origin discrimination, among other theories. The vast majority of those chosen for layoff were over the age of 40, which is a protected class under California law,” said Strauss.

As unique as this particular case may seem, it’s not all that surprising. Despite the fact that a company can save an average of 60% in operations costs with an outsourced individual, outsourcing just isn’t right for every situation. Still, more and more companies are making the change from on-site to virtual workers and equipment.

Consider GE, which would normally be viewed as a classic, conservative, blue chip company. Surely they are hewing to the traditional model and keeping their massive IT resources under in-house management? Nope. GE recently announced that they are eliminating 30 out of 34 data centers in favor of the cloud, probably because it helps 82% of companies save money.

However, UCSF is defending its decision, citing the increase in operation costs as the sole reason for the outsource effort.

“IT costs for the university’s medical center nearly tripled between 2011 and 2016, driven by the introduction of the electronic medical record and increased digital connectivity. This growth rate is not sustainable,” a spokesperson for UCSF told the Business Times.

UCSF also argues that the employees were given significant notice before being terminated.

“Providing patient access and the highest quality care, as well as advancing the highest caliber research, are among UCSF’s top priorities, and these missions must be carried out in a cost-competitive environment. The employees were given six-months’ notice and significant assistance in finding new employment.”

Ultimately, J. Gary Gwilliam, another attorney for the former employees, says that UCSF not only mistreated employees but abused the visa system while doing so.

“This is not outsourcing as usual,” he said. “These are public funds. I don’t think a university should outsource this.”