Muslim sues Accenture for discrimination

Accenture's banner hanging on New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) building for its initial public offering on July 19, 2001

Ritu Jha

Accenture's banner hanging on New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) building for its initial public offering on July 19, 2001
Accenture’s banner hanging on New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) building for its initial public offering on July 19, 2001. Photo: CC-BY-SA-3.0

A Muslim of Indian origin has sued Accenture, an Ireland-based consulting company, alleging discrimination at work because of his race, national origin, and religion.

The lawsuit has been filed by Texas-based Mohammad N Ali, who joined the company as infrastructure services sales lead in 2007, to help grow Accenture’s Infrastructure Consulting services in its North America Energy practice.

Ali’s attorney Mark Oberti told Indica, “ I think it is a very serious lawsuit,” but would not comment further.

Ali has claimed in the lawsuit that despite regularly exceeding the sales targets he was not given promotion nor bonus.

He has alleged that his manager, Tony Erickson, was prejudiced against him, paying him a lower base salary than his coworkers and subjecting him to a vastly higher sales target, than his similarly situated coworkers.

The report says until 2015 Ali earned praise for his work and was called the best employee by Sam Paul, a Managing Director. But things changed after Erickson joined in 2016. The new manager set Ali’s sales target at $50 million whereas the sales target of the other sales capture leads in the Energy Group for that same fiscal year was $30 million.

The suit alleged that this was odd because the sales targets for the other sales capture leads in the Energy Group for Fiscal Year 2015 had been $40 million or more, but those targets proved too high to meet, so Erickson lowered them to $30 million for Fiscal Year 2016.  Yet, Erickson insisted on imposing a $50 million sales target on Ali for Fiscal Year 2016.

The suit said that in Fiscal Year 2010, Ali’s sales target was approximately $7.5 million, yet he achieved approximately $19 .4 million in sales. In Fiscal Year 2011, he brought in $18 million though the sales target was approximately $8.5 million. He again drew in $18 million the next year though the target was raised to $9.5 million.

His work performances apparently helped him become a sales capture senior manager in 2013.

That year, he worked with Accenture’s energy section and a oil and gas vendor to launch Accenture’s practice in North America. This new service line went from a $5 million business in Fiscal Year 2015 to taking on a $100 million sales target in Fiscal Year 2017.

Again, during this time, Ali allegedly kept exceeding the sales targets given to him by Accenture, and earned substantial bonuses as a result – until 2015.

In Fiscal Year 2016, Erickson allegedy had his his salary reduced to one below that of comparable co-workers and set his sales target up to $50 million.

The suit claims that Erickson justified his decision to demote Ali by vaguely telling him that he lacked sales acumen and client interaction.

Ali’s claim report that official sales production at Accenture allegedly reflect that his sales acumen and client interaction skills are both good and better than most other employees in his same position.

When Ali raised his concern with Erickson that he just wanted to be treated like the other Sales Capture Leads in the Energy Group in regard to his sales target, Erickson refused to budge, and he continued with imposing higher sales target and told him, he “wasn’t going to be like Bernie Sanders and give handouts.”

According to the complaint, Erickson also tried to intimidate with glares and threatening looks, and told him, “I agree with all of Trump’s views,” at a time in the first half of 2016 when then-presidential candidate Donald Trump was calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States. Erickson allegedly made the statement immediately after Ali shared with Erickson that he was a lifelong Republican until the party took on strong anti-Muslim views as part of Donald Trump’s campaign.

The complaint states that Accenture has a pattern and practice of discriminating against Indians.

Last year, Accenture settled a national origin discrimination class action brought by a former software engineer Elton Kent from India who claimed he and a class of Indians were intentionally paid significantly less than Americans were paid, with Accentureagreeing to pay up to $500,000.


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