Thursday, January 24, 2019
Oracle Corp. shorted women and minority workers $400 million in wages by paying them less than other employees, steering them into jobs at lower-level positions, and imposing an “extreme preference” for immigrant visa holders, the Labor Department said in a new legal filing.
“Oracle has continued to systemically discriminate against employees and applicants based on gender and race,” Labor Department attorney Laura Bremer told an administrative law judge.
The allegations stem from a random 2014 audit by the Labor Department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs. The OFCCP, which enforces equal pay and other nondiscrimination requirements for federal contractors, first sued Oracle in January 2017.
Oracle declined Bloomberg Law’s request for comment. The company does about $100 million a year in federal contracting, according to the department.
Pay records obtained by the Labor Department show that Oracle paid women, black, and Asian employees less than others for similar jobs in information technology, product development, and support. The DOL said that appears to be in part because the company relied on workers’ prior pay histories to determine starting salaries. The department also said Oracle often starts women and black workers at “low-level jobs and low starting pay.”
The DOL further alleges that Oracle uses a recent college graduate hiring program to bring in droves of Asian visa holders, whom the company then pays 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,” Bremer said in the legal filing. “Once employed, women, blacks, and Asians are systematically underpaid relative to their peers.