Williams v. Tech Mahindra (Americas) Inc., No. 21-1394 (3d Cir. 2023)Annotate this Case
Mahindra, incorporated in New Jersey, is wholly owned by a major Indian corporation. Mahindra has over 5,000 employees in the U.S. About 90% are South Asians although that group comprises 1–2% of the U.S. population and around 12% of the relevant labor market. Mahindra annually obtains thousands of H-1B visas, which permit hiring foreign workers for specialty occupations. Hindi is often spoken at Mahinda's regional conferences. In 2014, Mahindra hired Williams, a Caucasian American, as one of two non-South Asians in his sales group. He reported to a South Asian supervisor. In 2015, Mahindra terminated his employment.
Williams was a member of the 2018 "Grant" putative race discrimination class action. In 2020, the North Dakota district court granted Mahindra’s motion to compel individual arbitration and stayed the case. Williams filed his putative class action in 2020, in the District of New Jersey, alleging disparate treatment on the basis of race. Williams did not deny that the longest applicable statute of limitations, four years, had expired but argued for tolling. The court dismissed Williams’s complaint without prejudice, finding that Williams had standing and was likely a member of the Grant putative class, and rejecting “American Pipe” tolling, under which the filing of a putative class action suspends the limitations period for absent class members’ individual claims. Williams’s complaint did not plausibly allege but-for causation on an individual basis. The Third Circuit vacated the dismissal for consideration of “wrong-forum tolling,” and whether Williams plausibly pleaded a pattern-or-practice claim.