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Judge rules in favour of Oracle in Labor Department’s $400 million pay bias lawsuit


A labour department judge in the United States has ruled in favour of Oracle, saying technology giant had not discriminated against women and minorities, including Indians and African Americans, in its pay structure.

The matter dates back to 2014, when the US Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) audited the California-based firm and later sued it in 2017, alleging that the company owed women and minorities $400 million in unpaid wages between January 2013 and December 2016.

The discrimination allegedly affected around 11,000 Asian nationals, according to the lawsuit.

The OFCCP is tasked with enforcing equal pay and other non-discrimination requirements for federal contractors. Oracle earns about $100 million a year in federal contracts, according to the labour department.

The department alleged that Oracle had used a college graduate hiring program to hire a number of Asian H-1B visa holders, whom the company then paid less than American citizen counterparts. Among other allegations, the department also said that there was a practice of underpaying women in the Product Development, IT and Support functions and of underpaying Asians and African Americans in the Product Development functions.

This pattern of underpayment was chiefly driven by the company’s reliance on prior salary information, it alleged.

“After careful review of the record in light of governing law, the evidence does not establish the allegations… The statistical evidence offered does not support an inference that Oracle is discriminating, or that there are disparities to be explained by either a pattern or practice of discrimination…or practice of relying on prior pay,” Administrative Law Judge Richard M. Clark ruled on Tuesday.

Dorian Daley, Oracle’s General Counsel, said in a statement, “After four years of litigation, we are grateful for Judge Clark’s ruling. In a more than 200-page decision, Judge Clark found no evidence of discrimination. We have been subject to years of harassment by Department of Labor employees with no evidence of discrimination whatsoever.”

OFCCP can appeal to the DOL’s Administrative Review Board against the order.

Indian technology companies like Infosys and Wipro are also facing lawsuits of alleged race discrimination by former employees.

US national Davina Linguist alleged earlier this year that Infosys had retaliated against her for testifying in 2016 against the company in a previous class action suit. Linguist, an African American, had testified in a case filed by Brenda Koehler, an American job applicant who had accused the company of discrimination against local job applicants by favouring workers from South Asia to fill positions in the US.

Infosys has denied all charges.

Wipro is also fighting a lawsuit over allegations of racial discrimination by African American employee Kevin Clark, who alleged in December 2019 that he was terminated based on his race and sought a compensation of $25 million as well as other costs.

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