Oracle sued by Labor Department for paying white men more
SAN FRANCISCO — Oracle is being sued by the Labor Department for allegedly paying white men more than their counterparts and for favoring Asian workers when recruiting and hiring for technical roles.
The administrative lawsuit is the latest from the Labor Department to take aim at the human resources practices of major technology companies.
The Labor Department warned the lawsuit could cost Oracle hundreds of millions in federal contracts. Oracle makes software and hardware used by the federal government.
“The complaint is politically motivated, based on false allegations, and wholly without merit,” Oracle spokesman Deborah Hellinger 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.”
The lawsuit is the result of an Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programsreview of Oracle’s equal employment opportunity practices, the Labor Department said. According to the lawsuit, Oracle America paid white male workers more, leading to pay discrimination against women, African American and Asian employees. The Labor Department also accused Oracle of favoring Asians for product development and other technical roles, resulting in discrimination against non-Asian applicants.
Oracle refused to comply with the Labor Department’s investigation, which began in 2014, such as refusing to provide compensation data for all employees, complete hiring data for certain business lines and employee complaints of discrimination, according to the federal agency.
The lawsuit comes as Silicon Valley faces growing pressure to increase diversity across the tech industry, which is dominated by white and Asian men. In recent years, major technology companies have begun to make public commitments to hire more women and minorities but progress has been slow.
As a federal contractor, Oracle is barred from discriminating based on race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability or against military veterans. And Oracle, like any federal contractor, must allow the federal government to review records and information relevant to the company’s compliance with equal employment laws administered by OFCCP, according to the Labor Department.
Earlier this month, the Labor Department filed a lawsuit to compel Google to turn over compensation data during an anti-discrimination audit.
In a statement, Google said it has provided hundreds of thousands of records over the last year, including compensation. The company said it balked at turning over the private information of employees.
“The handful of OFCCP requests that are the subject of the complaint are overbroad in scope, or reveal confidential data, and we’ve made this clear to the OFCCP, to no avail,” the company said in a statement.