The lawsuit alleges that a large Silicon Valley tech company–like many of its counterparts–actively discriminated against Asian-American employees.
An Asian-American man has filed a lawsuit against Lumentum Operations, accusing the Silicon Valley-based technology company of discriminating against Asian-origin employees.
According to ABC News, the lawsuit was filed on behalf of plaintiff Andre Wong at the end of the June.
Wong is seeking an estimated $20,000,000 in damages, claiming that “Lumentum had a culture of prejudice against Asians.”
“The damages figures reflect the impairment of Andre’s future expected compensation, how he’s been impacted personally and other matters, including making an example out of Lumentum and its bad behavior,” said attorney Charles Jung, who is representing Wong in the claim.
Wong, notes ABC News, worked at Lumentum for over 20 years.
While working with the company, Wong created and developed a new line of products, which specialized in 3-D sensing and facial recognition.
Wong was eventually promoted to the position of vice president for strategic marketing.
In total, the lawsuit states, Wong’s work earned Lumentum over $1 billion in revenue.
However, despite his success, Wong says that he struggled to obtain promotions.
“I noticed that I was kind of stalled in my career,” Wong told ABC News in an interview. “I had this sort of revolving door of white managers that would come through time and again, and even though I created the business, I would always have to train each of these new white managers, and I just felt frustrated.”
During the novel coronavirus pandemic, Wong founded an Asian employee resource group, where other Lumentum workers shared stories of alleged anti-Asian discrimination.
Shortly after forming the group, Wong was laid off, losing his job.
Speaking to ABC News, Wong’s attorney—Charles Jung—said that he intends to effect change within Silicon Valley.
“We expect social change and change specifically within the company,” Jung told ABC. “It’s the disparity between the regular workers, mid-level people and the executives with respect to representation. It’s very difficult to explain any other way other than inappropriate conduct. And we expect to vindicate Andre’s rights in court and also to achieve change within the company.”
ABC News notes that Stand with Asian Americans, or SWAA, recently released a statement in support of Wong’s lawsuit.
“Hate and discrimination at work is one of the most insidious ways anti-Asian racism shows up in our society,” said Justin Zhu, co-founder and executive director of Stand with Asian Americans. “Andre’s experience showcases how even in fields that heavily rely on Asian American labor, anti-Asian racism remains pervasive. His speaking up is an act of bravery, moving us closer to securing fair treatment for our communities.”
Wong said that, if his claim is successful, he will donate a “significant portion of the net proceeds to the cause of fighting anti-Asian discrimination.”
“The main reason why I’m doing this lawsuit is to make sure that we can make this donation to the civil rights movement for Asian Americans and to continue to support this effort,” Wong said in an interview with ABC News. “I think it’s an effort that is sort of in its infancy, but there’s a lot of stories and there’s a lot of activities that need to continue to happen.”