Oracle, the world's second-largest software maker, is in the crosshairs of the US Department of Labor (DOL) for discriminating against female and non-white employees - Asian, Hispanic and African American workers - at its headquarters in California. The case filed against the firm also challenges its "systemic practice" of favouring Asian workers in its recruiting and hiring practices for product development and other technical roles."It impermissibly denies equal employment opportunity to non-Asian applicants for employment, strongly preferring a workforce that it can later underpay. Once employed, women, Blacks and Asians are systematically underpaid relative to their peers," read the amended complaint filed by the Office of the Federal Contract Compliance Programmes (OFCCP) against Oracle on Tuesday.
The discriminatory practices allegedly affected more than 5,000 women and more than 11,000 Asians during the period of the lawsuit, January 2013 to December 2016. Moreover, the non-White and female employees were allegedly paid as much as 25% less than the peers, costing them at least $401 million in "lost wages" during that time frame.
While DOL has alleged that Oracle has refused to produce various records requested by OFCCP, the submitted data apparently reveals that the longer female and Asian workers stay with Oracle, the less they are paid in relation to other employees. OFCCP's analysis further found that female employees at Oracle were "only 42% as likely as men to be assigned to higher global career levels as managers".
Significantly, OFCCP adds that the "the stark patterns of discrimination" are continuing to date. "Because OFCCP believes that Oracle has not adjusted pay and corrected its compensation practices as of the date of this Amended Complaint, the total cost of Oracle's discrimination is much higher," the legal filing added.
The case was initially filed in January 2017 after OFCCP's compliance review of Oracle's equal employment opportunity practices back in 2014. As a federal contractor, Oracle is prohibited from engaging in employment discrimination on the basis of race, colour, national origin, sex, sexual orientation or gender identity. The complaint claims that Oracle receives over $100 million in public money annually from federal contracts.
The complaint also talks about "highly discriminatory college and university hiring practices" at the company. Of the around 500 hires through campus recruitment during the lawsuit period, 90% were allegedly Asian for one job group. Oracle allegedly also has a campus hiring program solely for graduates of Indian colleges, which further ups its total Asian intake.
The compliance evaluation letter sent to Oracle by OFCCP back in March 2016 clearly stated that of the 6,800 applicants recruited for Professional Technical 1 roles between January 2013 and June 2014, 76% were Asian applicants. Moreover, among the recruited Asians, Asian Indians comprised nearly 76%.
The lawsuit wants Oracle to provide complete relief to the affected classes, if found guilty of the discriminatory practices. Among other things, OFCCP wants pay adjustments for current employees affected by the "illegal pay practices" and additional hiring to offset its discriminatory hiring practices. Should the company fail to comply with the relief as ordered in the lawsuit, OFCCP requests that all of Oracle's government contracts be cancelled and the firm be debarred from entering into future federal contracts.
Edited By: Sushmita Choudhury Agarwal