The US Department of Labour is suing Oracle, alleging that the database giant “
has a systemic practice of paying Caucasian male workers more than their counterparts in the same job title,” resulting in women and people of colour getting paid less for the same work.
Additionally, the lawsuit claims that Oracle has a bias toward hiring Asian-Americans in technical roles, passing over other groups.
As a federal contractor, Oracle is required by law to comply with anti-discrimination regulations, including providing an affirmative action program. But according to the Department of Labour, Oracle blocked attempts by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs to do a routine inspection of employee data, to make sure they were compliant.
“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,” the Department of Labour wrote in a press release. “OFCCP attempted for almost a year to resolve Oracle’s alleged discrimination violations before filing the suit.”
If Oracle doesn’t settle things out with the Department of Labour, it could be looking at the cancellation of its lucrative federal contracts, as well as being blocked from applying for new ones, the press release states.
In a statement to Business Insider, an Oracle spokesperson calls the lawsuit “politically motivated” and “wholly without merit:”
“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.”
It’s not entirely clear what political factors Oracle is referring to, but it’s worth noting that company co-CEO Safra Catz is a key figure on President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team, and this suit was filed in the final days of the Obama administration.