Labor Department Sues Oracle

By Paula Bernier

The Labor Department is suing Oracle, saying the Silicon Valley giant has been paying white men more than others in the same positions. The department also alleges that Oracle favors Asians in its recruitment and hiring practices for technical jobs.

That’s a problem for Oracle, as Arstechnica reports, because the company does business with the federal government. And it could lose that business – to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars – if it is found guilty of employment discrimination.

The lawsuit stemmed from an investigation of Oracle that began in 2014. The Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs has stated Oracle wouldn’t address its routine requests for employment data and records, and noted this is the logical next step.

“For example, Oracle refused to provide prior-year compensation data for all employees, complete hiring data for certain business lines, and employee complaints of discrimination,” a press release issued yesterday by the United States Department of Labor explains. “OFCCP attempted for almost a year to resolve Oracle’s alleged discrimination violations before filing the suit.”

OFCCP Acting Director Thomas M. Dowd in the same press release was quoted as saying: “Federal contractors are required to comply with all applicable anti-discrimination laws. We filed this lawsuit to enforce those requirements.”

Meanwhile, Oracle reportedly issued a statement in which spokesman Deborah Hellinger commented: “The complaint is politically motivated, based on false allegations, and wholly without merit. 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."

A USA Today story on the matter indicates this Labor Department effort is part of a larger trend at the agency to target human resource practices it considers unfair. Of course, the stance of federal agencies is likely to change as Donald Trump, whose presidential inauguration is tomorrow, makes his mark on the federal government.

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