San Jose-based tech giant Lumentum is in hot water as it confronts a substantial $20 million lawsuit over accusations of anti-Asian bias and wrongful termination.
The Lumentum discrimination lawsuit comes after allegations that the company fired one of its employees, Andre Wong, in response to his vocal advocacy against the alleged discrimination. Wong had been with the company for over twenty years, playing a crucial role in developing a highly successful product line specializing in 3D sensing and facial recognition technology, which generated more than $1 billion in revenue for Lumentum.
Despite his contributions, Wong claims he was consistently passed over for promotions, with less qualified white managers receiving preferential treatment. The lawsuit also highlights the lack of Asian representation among Lumentum’s senior management, with fewer than 15% of senior executives of Asian descent.
The underrepresentation of Asians and Asian-Americans in leadership roles within Silicon Valley has long been a pervasive issue.
For instance, Google’s 2023 diversity report revealed that although 45% of the company’s US employees were of Asian origin, only 32% held leadership positions. Similarly, Meta, the social media giant in Menlo Park, reportedly had a 47% Asian workforce in 2022, with 29% occupying leadership roles, while Salesforce, based in San Francisco, had 27% of its workforce identifying as Asian, with only 20% representation in leadership positions.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the alleged issue of Asian representation within Lumentum worsened amid the surge in violence against Asian people. Wong increasingly spoke out about workplace discrimination against Asian Americans, eventually co-founding an internal Asian Employee Resource Group at Lumentum — the group aimed to promote Asian American representation, mentorship, and education within the company. However, Mr. Wong’s continued advocacy ultimately resulted in his termination from Lumentum in December.
If successful in the lawsuit, Wong has reportedly pledged to donate a significant portion of the net proceeds to the fight against anti-Asian discrimination.