Cognizant Technologies Removes Sexual Harassment Case to Federal Court

Cognizant Technology Solutions US Corporation, filed a notice of removal over the holiday weekend, contending that a California state court discrimination and harassment case filed against it belongs in the Northern District of California.

According to the complaint, the plaintiff provided information technology contract work for Cognizant through a staffing company called Net2source Inc. ultimately for Nvidia Corporation beginning in February 2019. While working at Nvidia’s campus, the plaintiff alleges that her supervisor offered her a full-time role with increased pay at Nvidia in exchange for an intimate relationship.

The complaint specifies that over dinner one evening, her supervisor said, “‘I take care of you, you take care of me,’” thereby insinuating a sexual relationship. After dinner, he reportedly asked for a kiss, which the plaintiff declined. Immediately thereafter, and because she refused his advances, the litigant claims that the supervisor became critical of her work.

The supervisor allegedly reiterated his offer once more in January 2019, giving the plaintiff one week to consider it. The plaintiff was fired from Cognizant on Feb. 7, 2020, the complaint says. The lawsuit states one claim for relief, termination in violation of public policy under California law.

Now, Cognizant seeks removal of the case on the basis of diversity jurisdiction. In addition to complete diversity, the filing alleges that the contract work the plaintiff performed was valued at $76,960 annually, over the $75,000 amount in controversy threshold. The defendant also alleges that removal is timely.

The plaintiff is represented by Lipow & Harris and Cognizant by Eversheds Sutherland (US) LLP.