$400 mn withheld! How Oracle discriminated against women, people of colour

Oracle headquarters in Redwood Shores, California. Photo courtesy: Wikipedia
The US Department of Labor has accused technology firm Oracle of discriminating against women and people of colour that cost over $400 million in lost wages, according to media reports. 

A federal complaint filed on Tuesday said that out of around 500 people hired over a four-year period, five were Hispanic and six - African American, reported The Guardian. The complaint also alleged that more than 5,000 women and 11,000 Asian employees were underpaid.

The new complaints gain significance as a 2017 lawsuit by US Labor Department alleged that Oracle paid more salary to white male workers compared to their peers, who were women or people of colour. While the lawsuit was stayed, the department has now renewed its claims, alleging that the company has destroyed evidence. 

Dismissing the claims, Vice President and General Counsel Dorian Daley said, "This meritless lawsuit is based on false allegations and a seriously flawed process that relies on cherry-picked statistics rather than reality," reported CNBC. 

How did Oracle exactly discriminate? 

The US Labor Department alleged that the company deployed two methods to discriminate against women and people of colour:

  • By suppressing the starting salary for female and non-white employees
  • By assigning them lower-level positions 

These practices caused the employees to miss out on $400 million in wages, the department said. It also alleged that the firm is biased towards Asians as 90 per cent of people hired between 2013 and 2013 from 500 colleges and universities were Asian. 

The complaint alleged that Oracle dealt into the practice of hiring Asians because they are dependent on the firm for work authorisation in the US, which allowed them to suppress their wages. The lawsuit alleged that the underpayment amounts to a total loss of $234 million.

Headquartered in Redwood Shores, Oracle is present at over 70 locations in the United States. 

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