Hoseong Ryu’s trouble at Intel started even before he began working there, he claimed in a lawsuit filed this week.
Ryu, 45, applied in 2014 for a software engineering job at Intel, and was interviewed by a three-man panel, according to his lawsuit filed in Northern California U.S. District Court. One interviewer at the Santa Clara semiconductor giant was originally from India, and he had a question for Ryu, the suit claimed.
“I see you are from Korea,” the man allegedly said. “I know a Korean man named Sung Won Bin. Do you happen to know him?”
After the meeting, the man told a fellow interviewer that Intel shouldn’t hire Ryu because he was “Korean, married, and had a child,” and added, “It would be easier to hire a younger, unmarried Indian man,” the suit alleged.
Still, Intel hired Ryu onto its system integration team, where he found “the demographics of the worksite and its management have been heavily skewed toward employees from India or people of Indian or south-Asian descent,” the suit claimed.
One manager in his team, of Indian origin, “openly favored the hiring and promotion of only employees from India, stating that ‘Indians work hard’ and ‘Indians are harder workers,’” the suit alleged. That manager also encouraged a supervisor to hire only Indian employees, the suit filed Wednesday claimed.
Intel said it does not comment on pending litigation. But a company spokeswoman said a diverse workforce and inclusive culture are key to the company’s progress. “We believe diverse teams with different perspectives, experiences and ideas are more creative and innovative, resulting in a collaborative and supportive environment,” spokeswoman Patricia Oliverio-Lauderdale said.
In 2018, a new chief of the system integration team was to be appointed, according to the suit. Ryu had been a de facto manager of the team for some 18 months, but the position was awarded to a system debugger originally from India who had “no management experience and had significantly less experience with system integration than Ryu,” the suit alleged.