Palantir is settling allegations by the Department of Labour that its hiring practices for engineers discriminated against Asian people. It has agreed to pay $US1,659,434 in back wages and stock options to impacted employees. It will also extend job offers to eight Asian people, department says.
That’s an about-face from the company’s earlier response after the Labour Department originally accused it of “systemic hiring discrimination” late last year.
Palantir is a big data startup that sells many of its tools and consulting services to the federal government. The issue arose because, as a government contractor, Palantir must report its diversity statistics to the government. The Labour Department sifted through these reports and concluded that even though Palantir received a huge number of qualified Asian applicants for certain roles, it was hiring only small numbers of them.
Palantir, being the big data company that it is, did its own sifting and produced a data-filled response that it said refuted the allegations and showed that in some tech titles 25%-38% of its employees were Asians.
Apparently, Palantirs protestations weren’t enough on to satisfy government regulators, so the company agreed to settle.
Palantir could not immediately be reached for comment.
But a company spokesperson told Fortune that “we disagree with the allegations made by the Department of Labour. We settled this matter, without any admission of liability, in order to focus on our work. We continue to stand by our employment record and are glad to have resolved this case.”
This was a particularly unusual case. In terms of diversity stats at most tech companies, African-Americans, Latin-Americans, and women tend to be the most underrepresented groups, compared to their percentage in the general population, with Asians being better represented, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.