A California technology company is facing down claims of racial discrimination against employees, who are the subject of a lawsuit alleging white men were given preference over minorities with similar qualifications.
USA Today reports the U.S. Department of Labor is suing Oracle America, a technology systems company that is accused of paying its white, male workers more than others and discriminating against non-white applicants in the course of its hiring and recruiting efforts. The DOL asserted the company is barred from engaging in discriminatory practices, especially because it receives hundreds of millions of dollars as a contractor for the federal government.
The company vehemently denies the allegations, arguing they are wholly without merit and motivated by politics. The firm is responsible for manufacturing much of the hardware and software utilized by federal government agencies.
The lawsuit stems from a review by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, which looked specifically at the company’s employment practices and whether they allowed for equal opportunity. The department alleges that Oracle discriminated against women, African American and Asian workers. In some cases, Asian employees were clearly favored for technical jobs and product development positions, to the discrimination of non-Asian applicants, the department said in its complaint.
The investigation by the labor department, which started back in 2014, was a point of contention for the company, which allegedly refused to cooperate. Some examples of this purported refusal to cooperate included turning down requests to turn over wage data for all workers. The firm also reportedly refused requests to produce complete hiring data for certain aspects of the business and wouldn’t give the government access to logs of employee complaints asserting discrimination.
Of course, this isn’t the first time a major player in Silicon Valley has come under fire for employment discrimination. Many technology companies, including Apple, Google, Twitter and others, have been accused of failing to ensure a diverse workforce. Most of these companies are dominated almost exclusively by white and Asian men. More technology companies have started making their commitment to diversity public, providing transparent employee hiring data. In particular, companies have been urged to hire more women and minorities. However, progress has been relatively slow.
Federal contractors are forbidden from discriminating against workers based on their color, race, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, religion, disability or history as a military veteran.
The Labor Department has grown increasingly aggressive in his enforcement of anti-discrimination at technology companies. This month, the agency filed another employment discrimination lawsuit against Google, seeking production of wages information in accordance with an ongoing audit of discriminatory practices. Google has said it already provided information on compensation, and is refusing to turn over additional information in the interest of worker privacy. It has insisted the request from the Labor Department is overly broad.
Other discrimination lawsuits lodged against Silicon Valley firms have involved prejudice based on age. While the median age of workers in the U.S. is 42, in Silicon Valley it’s between 29 and 31. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg even once commented at the age of 22 commented to an audience that, “Younger people are just smarter.”
Contact the employment attorneys at Nassiri Law Group, practicing in Orange County, Riverside and Los Angeles. Call 949.375.4734.
Oracle sued by Labor Department for paying white men more, Jan. 18, 2017, By Jessica Guynn, USA Today
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