Women In Comms

US Sues Oracle for Pay, Hiring Discrimination

Oracle routinely and systematically pays its white male workers more than women and minorities in the same positions, as well as discriminates against non-Asian applicants in its recruiting process, according to a lawsuit announced Wednesday by the US Department of Labor.

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday, alleges that the Bay Area tech giant paid women, African Americans and Asians less than their white male counterparts holding the same job titles. It also claims Oracle Corp. (Nasdaq: ORCL) systematically favors Asians in its recruiting and hiring for product development and other technical jobs, discriminating against non-Asian applicants in the process.

Oracle denied the allegations. "The complaint is politically motivated, based on false allegations, and wholly without merit," a spokeswoman said in a statement. "Oracle values diversity and inclusion, and is a responsible equal opportunity and affirmative action employer. Our hiring and pay decisions are non-discriminatory and made based on legitimate business factors including experience and merit.”

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There's been a big push for more transparency around hiring practices, pay and diversity at tech companies. Many companies have been sharing their diversity statistics on their own volition in recent years. For its part, Oracle promotes a commitment to diversity on its website, but only shares a high-level breakdown of its diversity statistics, including that it is made up of 37% minorities and 29% females. Thirty-four percent of its managers are minorities, and 25% are female. (See A Vast Valley: Tech's Inexcusable Gender Gap.)

The US Department of Labor lawsuit says that Oracle refused to "comply with routine requests for employment data and records" and refused to provide prior-year compensation data for its employees, hiring data for certain business units and employee complaints of discrimination. It has been investigating the company for two years and pushing it to provide this documentation for the past year.

As a federal contractor, Oracle is not allowed to partake in any kind of employment discrimination for its employees or those it's seeking to hire. The suit is seeking compensation for lost pay and benefits for those affected, as well as to force Oracle to end these discriminatory practices. It suggests Oracle may lose millions in federal contracts if it doesn't change its ways.

This lawsuit, the result of a regular compliance review by the government, comes shortly after the Department of Labor also filed suit against Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) for failing to provide similar data in its review. The suit against Google, however, doesn't claim any wrongdoing or discrimination in its employment practices. Google said it pushed back on turning over the private information of its employees.

— Sarah Thomas, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profile, Director, Women in Comms

kq4ym 1/30/2017 | 9:28:13 AM
Re: Political motivations? It would seem that it may take big lawsuits and actions by regulators to get some semblance of equity in these issues. A "push for more transparency around hiring practices, pay and diversity at tech companies," seems to be a continuing call that is either fought by many companies or ignored until the lawyers get involved. It is shocking if true that Oracle had refused to hand over documents to the Dept. of Labor as a preface to the latest action.
Joe Stanganelli 1/24/2017 | 3:36:50 PM
Re: Political motivations? Normally, "political motivations" is the standard PR defense employers use for employment-discrimination lawsuits (i.e., code for "the plaintiff is just upset about an unfavorable employment decision") -- regardless of the merit of the suit.

Of course, in this case, the plaintiff is a federal agency -- so "political" may well mean "actually political" (again, regardless of the merit of the suit).

@Sarah: It's worth noting that the complaint was filed on January 17 -- three days before Trump's inauguration.  This could well have been an Obama-administration monkey wrench just to get some semblance of vengeance on Catz & co.

Worth noting that Oracle exec George Polishner publicly resigned over Catz's joining Trump's transition team because he doesn't like Trump.  So there's also that.

On the other hand, there's also the Google suit -- and Google was known for being an Obama-administration darling.
mendyk 1/19/2017 | 10:11:31 AM
Re: Political motivations? Funny that companies that make big piles of money off customer data (looking at YOU, Google) will play the privacy card when it's convenient. There's nothing political about this -- it's just business.
Sarah Thomas 1/18/2017 | 4:19:32 PM
Political motivations? Interesting that Oracle's spokeswoman refers to "political motivations" of the lawsuit, but doesn't specify what those are. Oracle Co-CEO Safra Catz (with Mark Hurd) was appointed to Trump's presidential transition team in December. Could that play a part (or is that what she's suggesting)?

Here's a good idea -- share the pay data and prove the lawsuit wrong (or not)!
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