How Indians Have Brought Indian Labor Standards to the US

Executive Summary

  • When the H1-B program was approved, it was not ever envisioned to reduce the work standards for US workers.
  • As Indians are applying Indian labor approaches in the US, this is precisely what is happening.


In the media, the H1-B program is presented as legitimate (when it is massively infused with fraudulently and mismanaged by the US government) and also that it has no impact on US workers. We have covered in the article How H1-B Workers displace many US Workers? how it so actively displaces US workers that it should be called the “US Worker Displacement Program.”

But its effect is not only limited to displacing US workers, Indians have nearly entirely taken over the IT recruiting market in the US as we cover in the article The Frightening Rise of the Indian Recruiters in IT, and they are also changing the US labor standards for both Indians working in the US, as well as Americans born in the country.

So what working under these Indian standards like for native-born Americans?

Quotations from the First-Hand Experience of an American in an Indian Work Environment

The following very well explains how Indian management is in many cases (we have other reports as well) behaving as if they are managing workers in India while employing people in the US.

Indians also expect us to like and enjoy their food. The first Silicon Valley startup that I worked for would use Grubhub for lunch delivery. It sounded cool at first until I realized that the office manager was picking the SAME Indian restaurant EVERY day. I tried to eat their food. I really tried, but the only thing my stomach could actually tolerate was the flour tortilla called Naan. I lost 10 pounds the first month.

It would seem natural that American workers would not want to eat Indian food every day. Indian food is more a minor food category in the US, with most Indian restaurants supported by Indian patrons. Yet, there is very little consideration for the US worker in this situation.

How Many Hours Per Day?

Indian companies are renowned for working long hours, and there a high amount of pressure applied to employees to work those hours. The US passed legislation that placed workers to a 40 hour work week and then required overtime above this amount of hours. However, the loophole was that this only applied to hourly employees. Now, with Indian firms, the US work standard is being further eroded, as explained in the following quotation.

Why didn’t you pack lunch? I didn’t have time. The daily roundtrip commute was 2.5 hours and they expected you to work at least 10 hours every day without breaks.

I’m not kidding.

If you need a break to walk around and get some sunshine or happened to be in the bathroom for longer than 5 minutes, the CEO and CTO would get really mad at you. They always asked where you went. I never could figure out if they were mad because they thought I was doing intro interviews on my phone or if they were just mad that I wasn’t working nonstop.

This is the badgering behavior that reduces the incentive of workers to take their breaks. In the US, and Australia, Canada, and Western Europe, there is a general understanding that in professional environments, employees are given tasks and then self manage throughout the day. However, this does not seem to be the case in the Indian work culture.

During the Theranos scandal, the book Bad Blood described highly controlling behavior on the part of Sunny Balwani, who, along with Elizabeth Holmes, defrauded investors by making false claims around the blood testing technology of Theranos.

Balwani did not show any concern for the privacy of the employees of Theranos and did not see them as having autonomy, as is the standard in Western countries. 

What Is Everyone Working on….On Their Computers?

Balwani was known to use tracking software that allowed him to determine what percentage of the time they were working on one task or another. The best description of Sunny Balwani was that he was a thug.

This is evidenced in the following quotation.

Elizabeth told the gathered employees that she was building a religion. If there were any among them who didn’t believe, they should leave. Sunny put it more bluntly: anyone not prepared to show complete devotion and unmitigated loyalty to the company should “get the fuck out.” – Bad Blood

Yelled At….Taking a Standard Lunch?

After losing 10 lb the first month from not eating lunch every day, I thought to myself “I’m an American and I’m salaried.

I’m going out to lunch.”

It was nice eating lunch again, but of course, they would yell at me every day even though I was never gone for longer than one hour. There were 15 people in my office. I was the only one brave enough to actually eat out… except for once when the Office Manager went to lunch with me. That day the CTO called her while we were at lunch and yelled at her until she started crying.

What a great boss.

Does this behavior sound remotely acceptable to the Western mind? The question that immediately arises is what is wrong with the Indian culture that it is considered acceptable to behave this way? And the answer, we believe, can be found in the extraordinary hierarchy that is present in Indian society. This hierarchy makes people at the top of the hierarchy feel entitled to entirely control and humiliate those lower than them on the hierarchy.

Are Indian Management Teams Following US Law?

I also made sure to take two 15-minute breaks every day. I’m pretty sure this is mandated by law.

All I did was walk out to the courtyard, put on my headphones and sunglasses and lay down on a bench to enjoy the sunshine and recharge for 15 minutes. I’d get yelled at every time, but I’m like WTF. I’m an American.

These breaks are my right and besides… I’m salaried!! There is no official time clock.

Indians Denying Unemployment?

Unemployment – I’m a normal American. I like to work hard and also say what I’m thinking. Of course, this doesn’t always go well with people from different cultures. The Indians will smile and say everything is wonderful and that you are doing a great job — right up until they fire you. The Indians will fight with you every day — and then when you get let go they challenge your unemployment which is a total dick move.

This is important because if they tell the unemployment office you were fired then you don’t get unemployment benefits.

Once again, companies are not supposed to do this as it is a violation of the US unemployment system. However, this is part of the pattern where Indians are not following the rules and standards of the US employment market.

Understanding India and The Longterm Indian Cultural Disregard for Labor

To understand Indian recruiters, it is vital to understand India.

I have been to India and Pakistan and have read up on the region’s history. Essentially, India and Pakistan were bronze age societies before colonialization by the British. Colonialization was begun by the East India Trading Company (without authorization from the British Government) and was eventually taken over by the British Government. India has an enormous population (either soon to or already larger than China’s). While the British brought some infrastructure, such as a rail and postal system, most of the country remained undeveloped long after India won independence from the British.

While India’s independence is a national pride for Indians, the country regressed since this time. While the British were in India for their advantages, the British were better administrators than the Indians that took over from them (since independence and up to the current day). They were also less corrupt. Currently, India sits at 95 out of 180 countries on the Worldwide Corruption scale.

Indians like to spend a certain amount of time blaming Britain for India’s failings. However, 73 years after independence, India still has slavery and borderline slavery-like bonded labor. Why has that not been addressed? Furthermore, India did not have western labor standards before the British arrived. Blaming the British is a way for Indians not to acknowledge their lack of progress in treating workers better.

Benefitting From Western Labor Standards, While Undermining Them

Unfortunately, but unsurprisingly, when Indians immigrate to other countries, while they benefit from the higher standards of labor themselves when they are in the position of hiring, they default back to highly exploitive labor practices. This is how Indians are most comfortable treating other people.

In IT today, Indians, or at least Indian influence, is the primary force driving down labor standards for domestic workers. Indians reduce employment for domestic IT workers and lower the standards for the jobs domestic IT workers keep.


Indians are not adapting to the US work environment when they are the management — they are instead bringing of a highly corrosive and abusive work environment from India as we cover in the article How the Awful Indian Employment System Works. Neither the H1-B lobby nor the billionaires (Why Do So Many Billionaires Love the H1-B Worker Visa?) that adore the H1-B and other foreign worker visa programs care about these issues. These topics are virtually impossible to find on the Internet — which means that large numbers of US workers are censoring themselves.