Discrimination Lawsuits The same anger is seeping toward courts in the form of threatened lawsuits against employers that have allegedly discriminated against native workers in favor of lower-paid H-1Bs. If some laid-off tech workers get their way, Sun Microsystems Inc. will soon be the subject of a class action suit alleging discriminatory patterns in November 2001 layoffs of about 9 percent of Suns work forceabout 3,900 jobs.Santiglias claims are fueled by the perception that he lost his job while, he said, some H-1B visa holdersbrought into this country ostensibly because there were no domestic workers to perform their jobsretained theirs. But, according to Santiglia, the DOL told him that his job isnt protected in such a situation unless Sun has a work force of more than 15 percent H-1B visa holders. Does Sun employ more than 15 percent H-1B visa holders? To find out, Santiglia walked into Suns Santa Clara, Calif., headquarters and demanded to see the companys records of the LCAs, or labor condition applications, companies must file when requesting H-1B visas. According to Santiglia, Sun requested approval for thousands of H-1B workers last year, well in excess of the number of workers the company laid off this year. The figure he came up with doesnt represent 15 percent of Suns work force, but Santiglia said the company is still being investigated on grounds of discrimination. Sun spokeswoman Penny Bruce declined to disclose how many H-1B petitions Sun filed between October last year and March this year but said that it is a "fractionclose to 20 percentof the numbers filed in the prior year." Bruce also denied that Santiglia was replaced with an H-1B worker.
Guy Santiglia is one of a handful of ex-Sun employees who have provided the Department of Justice and the Department of Labor with information about Sun regarding what he believes are violations of the H-1B visa-related laws and alleged discrimination against U.S. citizens. Some ex-Sun employees who prefer to remain anonymous are also running a Web site that asks laid-off Sun workers to file charges against the company (www.sunclassaction.com). Laid off from a one-year position as assistant IT administrator in November, Santiglia said that the DOJ is investigating Sun for possible instances of discrimination in the November layoffs. A spokeswoman and an attorney for the DOL and a spokeswoman for the DOJ said they could not comment on ongoing investigations.