Washington: An Indian techie has filed a lawsuit against German multinational Bosch for allegedly compelling Indian employees in the US to transfer their tax refunds to the company.
Suraj Kamath, who has filed a class action lawsuit in the federal court of Los Angeles, has charged Bosch with unjustly enriching itself by asking all of its non-US citizen employees to transfer tax (federal and state) refunds to the company.
It is estimated that at least 160 persons are class members. The complaint seeks monetary damages and injunctive relief.
"I worked diligently for Bosch for years. When I objected to Bosch's demand to pay back all tax refunds I had received, Bosch threatened to fire me, send me back to India, and make my life miserable. The way Bosch treats its employees is wrong and that's why I am standing up to Bosch for myself and my fellow colleagues at Bosch," Mr Kamath alleged.
Mr Kamath, a citizen of India, began working for Robert Bosch Engineering and Business Solutions, in India in 2005. In March 2009, the company transferred Mr Kamath to the US, where he worked as a project manager in Santa Barbara, California, until May 2013.
"All Bosch employees should receive their full wages, and that includes the tax refunds they are entitled to. These employees deserve to be treated fairly, and not have their livelihoods threatened for insisting that Bosch comply with the law," Daniel M Hutchinson, counsel for Kamath and the proposed class, said in a statement.
The complaint alleges that on December 21, 2012, Bosch sent letters to Mr Kamath and other employees listing the amounts of tax refunds the employee had received for tax years 2006 through 2011.
Bosch directed that the employee "repay this amount" to Bosch by cheque before January 15, 2013, or arrange for payroll deductions by no later than December 27, 2012, the complaint alleges.
The tax refund amounts sought by Bosch totaled in the tens of thousands of dollars for many employees.
According to complaint, Mr Kamath objected to Bosch's demand. In response, Bosch allegedly threatened to sack Mr Kamath.
Bosch managers allegedly told Mr Kamath that, "We will make sure that your career is destroyed and you will not be able to find a job anywhere. We will make your life miserable if you don't sign (the declaration promising to pay back to Bosch the tax refunds you received)."
Following Mr Kamath's refusal to comply with the company's demand, Bosch asked Mr Kamath to return to India in May 2013. The company also refused to pay Mr Kamath a performance pay amount for work done in 2012.
Other Bosch employees who complied with Bosch's coercive tactics have had the tax refund amounts taken by the company through payroll deductions, the complaint alleged.
There was no immediate reaction from Bosch.
Updated Date: Dec 21, 2014 00:11:51 IST