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Labor Department Ramps Up Unequal Pay Claims Against Oracle

"Oracle's suppression of pay for its non-white, non-male employees is so extreme that it persists and gets worse over long careers." Not exactly something you want to hear about your business in any context in this day and age, and certainly not something you want to read in a complaint filed by the U.S. Department of Labor.

And these are not new allegations. Federal labor officials are updating a 2017 lawsuit, now claiming that discriminatory hiring practices at the software giant cost women and people of color more than $400 million in lost wages.

Systematically Underpaid

The Labor Department reviewed employment practices since 2013 at Oracle headquarters and found that white men were paid more than women, African Americans, and Asians with similar duties and qualifications. The government also alleges that additional data provided since the original discrimination claim was filed bolsters their claims.

Those records obtained by the Labor Department show that Oracle showed a preference for job candidates it could later underpay. Once on the job, black, Asian, and female employees, were paid as much as 25 percent less than their peers. According to the DOL, Oracle often starts women and black workers at "low-level jobs and low starting pay," and is accused of hiring droves of Asian H-1B visa holders and also paying them less than their citizen counterparts.

Oracle "impermissibly denies equal employment opportunity to non-Asian applicants for employment, strongly preferring a workforce that it can later underpay," according to Labor Department attorney Laura Bremer. "Once employed, women, blacks, and Asians are systematically underpaid relative to their peers."

Seriously Flawed

Oracle Executive Vice President and General Counsel Dorian Daley responded to the new allegations:

"This meritless lawsuit is based on false allegations and a seriously flawed process within the OFCCP that relies on cherry picked statistics rather than reality ... We fiercely disagree with the spurious claims and will continue in the process to prove them false. We are in compliance with our regulatory obligations, committed to equality, and proud of our employees."

Oracle currently does around $100 million in business annually for the federal government, and the lawsuit could threaten government contracts for Oracle and its partners in the future.

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