Oracle sued by the U.S. Department of Labor over its hiring practices
The U.S. Department of Labor on Wednesday filed a lawsuit against software giant Oracle America for allegedly paying white men more than their colleagues and for unlawfully favoring Asian applicants in its recruiting and hiring efforts for technical roles.
The lawsuit is the result of an Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs review of the company’s practices at its Redwood Shores, California, headquarters, according to a release from the Labor Department.
“The leading technology company has a systemic practice of paying Caucasian male workers more than their counterparts in the same job title, which led to pay discrimination against female, African American and Asian employees,” the department said in a statement.
At the same time, according to the complaint, Oracle was far more likely to hire Asian applicants—particularly Indian people—for product development and technical roles than black, white, or Hispanic job seekers.
However, Oracle denied the allegations.
“The complaint is politically motivated, based on false allegations and wholly without merit,” Oracle spokeswoman Deborah Hellinger said.
“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,” she said.
The suit further alleged that Oracle obstructed Labor Department investigators by refusing to produce data on compensation or hiring that would support their claim.
“Oracle refused to provide prior-year compensation data for all employees, complete hiring data for certain business lines, and employee complaints of discrimination,” the department said.
The department said it tried for nearly a year to “resolve Oracle’s alleged discrimination violations” before filing the lawsuit.
“Federal contractors are required to comply with all applicable anti-discrimination laws,” said OFCCP acting Director Thomas M. Dowd. “We filed this lawsuit to enforce those requirements.”
If the suit is successful, people affected by the alleged discrimination will receive relief for “lost wages, stock, interest, front wages, salary adjustments, promotions and all other lost benefits of employment and a reform of discriminatory policies.” More than 1,000 female Oracle employees are estimated to have been affected by the alleged discrimination, the lawsuit said.
Also, the lawsuit could turn out to be costly for Oracle. The Department of Labor noted that Oracle has a bevy of government contracts that could be at risk.
“Oracle has received hundreds of millions in federal government contracts,” said the Department of Labor. “If Oracle fails to provide relief as ordered in the lawsuit, OFCCP requests that all its government contracts be canceled and that it be debarred from entering into future federal contracts.”