A 78-year-old Indian-American engineer, named Anil Varshney, is speaking out after claiming that he was dismissed from his job due to a conversation he had with a dying relative in Hindi over the phone back in September 2022.
This engineer, Anil Varshney, has taken legal action against his former employer, Parsons Corporation, a company involved in missile defense, and has named US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin in his lawsuit, alleging that the company engaged in discriminatory practices.
The incident that sparked this legal battle happened during a two-minute video call on September 26, 2022. Varshney was reportedly heard speaking in Hindi while conversing with his brother-in-law who was in critical condition in India. This brief exchange led to Varshney’s alleged wrongful termination.
Varshney is rejecting the accusations leveled against him. He asserts that a co-worker falsely reported him for violating security protocols by discussing confidential information or accepting the call during a confidential meeting. According to Varshney, there was no confidential or classified information anywhere near the call. He describes the cubicle where he took the call as empty, devoid of office materials or any confidential content.
In response to his job loss, Varshney’s lawsuit is aiming for his reinstatement to a position comparable to his former one. He is also seeking the restoration of his privileges and the removal of any disciplinary records associated with his case. Should reinstatement prove unattainable, he is pursuing front pay, which includes benefits, as well as compensatory damages to address the emotional distress he has experienced. Varshney is additionally seeking punitive and liquidated damages, along with legal fees.
The lawsuit’s gravity extends to the assertion that Varshney has been effectively blacklisted from future employment, effectively ending his career and years of service to both the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) and the US government. His role involved contributing to the development of integrated and layered missile defense systems that safeguard the US and allied partner forces from ballistic missile threats.
In response to these allegations, Parsons Corporation has denied any wrongdoing. They presented their defense in a court filing on July 24, maintaining their stance. The company not only contests the allegations but also calls for the dismissal of the case with prejudice. Additionally, they have requested that Varshney cover their legal expenses.
The engineer at the center of this case, Anil Varshney, holds a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Banaras Hindu University (BHU) in Varanasi, India. He made the move to the United States in 1968. Working at Parsons’ Huntsville office from July 2011 to October 2022, Varshney’s efforts were recognized, earning him the title of ‘Contractor of the Year’ in systems engineering. His dedication was further acknowledged with a letter of recommendation from the Missile Defense Agency for his role in saving $5 million (₹41.1 crore) on a ground-based missile defense program.