Engineer Accuses Former Employer of Factoring Race into COVID Remote Work Policy

A Chinese American engineer, who was fired for refusing to come into the office during the COVID-19 pandemic, has amended his ongoing lawsuit to include claims the former company allowed white employees to work remotely.

Case background

The plaintiff, a Chinese American engineer working at CGIT Systems Inc. in 2020, accused the company of firing him after he asked to work from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. He lived with his 81-year-old mother, as well as having his own history of high blood pressure. In September 2022, a federal judge ruled that he could pursue the age and disability discrimination complaints, but rejected a racial discrimination claim.

The new complaint offers further information regarding CGIT’s work-from-home rules, which the plaintiff claims were different for white engineers. For example, the complaint states, “On March 26, 2020, a structural engineer who was white requested to work remotely for an undefined duration. His request was approved the next day.” The next day, another senior white project engineer requested to work from home. The request was approved the same day. A third white employee requested to work from home “until COVID-19 is over.” That request was also approved.

When the plaintiff was fired, the role was then filled by a younger white employee who, he says, was allowed to work from home before the pandemic had even started, due to that employee’s mother’s health.

Finally, the new complaint includes allegations that CGIT employees and clients raised concerns about his Chinese accent, and that CGIT pushed Christianity on its workers. Representatives had religious representatives come to the organization to speak with employees on a monthly basis, and the CEO sent religious emails to the entire company.

If your company has engaged in similar wrongdoing, you may have a legal claim. Contact the experienced whistleblower attorneys at Kardell Law Group for assistance.