Feds accuse secretive Silicon Valley startup Palantir of discrimination against Asians

Palantir employeesGlassdoor/PalantirPalantir employees

The Department of Labour is suing Palantir, a secretive Silicon Valley startup that provides data analysis software to the federal government and private companies, accusing it of discriminating against Asian job applicants.

According to the suit, Asian applicants were “routinely eliminated during the resume screen and telephone interview phases despite being as qualified as white applicants with respect to the QA Engineer, Software Engineer, and QA Engineer Intern positions.”

The complaint includes several instances dating to 2010 in which the Labour Department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs found Palantir discriminated against Asian candidates.

In one instance, a software engineer position had 1,160 applicants — 85 per cent of who were Asian. Palantir ended up hiring 14 non-Asian applicants.

“The likelihood that this result occurred according to chance is approximately one in 3.4 million.” the lawsuit said.

In another position where Asian applicants made up 77 per cent of 730 qualified candidates, the company hired only one Asian individual and six other non-Asian applicants.

The Silicon Valley company provides software and data analysis for clients including the FBI, the U.S. Special Operations Command, and the U.S. Army.

Since Palantir is technically a government contractor the company has to follow a nondiscrimination policy, the suit noted.

Palantir did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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