“They felt their work was being offshored,” said the longtime HR industry
veteran, who had been hired to execute
the IT layoffs at the managed healthcare provider.
The workers say their questions
weren’t answered, so 18 of them filed
suit in California state court earlier
this year against Molina, its former
CIO and Cognizant.
The plaintiffs say they were fired
because Molina and the outsourcing
company sought to employ workers
“whose national origin, race and/or
ethnicity was exclusively Indian.”
Molina said the lawsuit is grounded
in “falsehoods and malicious gossip,”
while Cognizant said the suit is without
merit and vowed to “vigorously contest
it.” Former Molina CIO Desai, through
attorney Edward Raskin, says the
lawsuit is itself guilty of “an unfair
discriminatory bias.” In fact, he noted,
“some of the employees who lost jobs at
Molina were ‘of Indian descent.’ ”
While what happened at Molina
is still in dispute, job displacement
because of offshore outsourcing is a
fact of life in today’s I T workplace.
Outsourcing engagements often
start when IT services firms bring in
workers, typically with H-1B or L- 1
visas, to learn the company’s processes.
Then the work moves overseas.
Molina employees contend that’s
what happened to them. James Otto,
an attorney representing the former
Molina employees, claims that about
Around 2007, though, most of the workers’ immediate IT
managers were fired or laid off while the number of contrac-
tors increased. The Molina employees said they were asked to
train Cognizant workers and told that their role would shift to new
development. However, the workers said, the corporate culture
changed for the worse as contractors were added.
“There was a point where I felt we were just being written off,”
said David de Hilster, one of the laid-off IT workers. In the weeks
leading up to the layoff, the training process became increasingly
“urgent,” he added. u
Outsourced and Fired,
IT Workers Strike Back
Laid-off IT pros list their reasons for filing suit against
Molina Healthcare, its former CIO and its outsourcer,
Cognizant Technology Solutions. By Patrick Thibodeau
ON THE DAY THEY WERE FIRED early last year, about 40 Molina Healthcare IT employees met in a conference room for what they thought was a planning session. The gathering took place at a time of rising ten- sions over several issues, including the expanding
role of offshore IT contractor Cognizant Technology Solutions.
The Molina workers voiced their concerns to then-CIO Amir
Desai after he told them they were all being laid off. “I felt they
were expecting us to be asking questions about COBRA and unem-
ployment and all that,” said Bonita Shok, one of the laid-off Molina
employees. “Instead, we were being quite confrontational about
why they were laying us off and keeping all these H-1B workers.”
“I have never experienced a group of employees who were so
angry,” said a human resources manager who was in the meeting
but asked not to be identified.
I have never experienced a group of employees who were so angry. They felt their work
was being offshored. — FORMER HR MANAGER, MOLINA HEALTHCARE