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Suit Says Sun Fired Citizens to Hire Foreigners

March 19, 2003|From Bloomberg News

A former manager at Sun Microsystems Inc. says the company fired thousands of American workers and replaced them with workers from India, according to a lawsuit filed in San Jose.

Walter Kruz, 52, contends that he was fired from his software engineering job because he's a U.S. citizen. He was one of 2,500 employees fired by the Santa Clara, Calif.-based company two years ago.

Demand for foreign workers to fill positions at Silicon Valley companies reached a peak during the high-tech boom, when technology companies lobbied Congress to raise the number of visas for foreign workers.

The companies said they needed foreign workers because there was a shortage of qualified U.S. workers.

"Sun saved millions of dollars by firing its older, higher-paid U.S. employees and hiring younger visa holders from India who were paid substantially less than their U.S. counterparts," Kruz said in his lawsuit, filed Monday in state court.

Sun spokeswoman Diane Carlini said the company hires based on applicants' qualifications and considers the applicant pool from India because "it's an essential part of our competitive nature in high tech."

Shares of Sun rose 2 cents to $3.55 on Nasdaq.

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