Former Oracle employees sue over pay discrimination

They seek a class-action lawsuit to represent all women who have worked at Oracle

Three former Oracle employees are suing the company for allegedly paying women less than men carrying out a similar job.

The three women  Rong Jewett, Sophy Wang and Xian Murray  filed the lawsuit at San Mateo Court in California on 28 August. They seek a class-action lawsuit to represent all other women who have worked at Oracle, according to TechCrunch.

The lawsuit states: "Oracle has discriminated against its female employees by systematically paying them lower wage rates than Oracle pays to male employees performing substantially equal or similar work under similar working conditions."

Jewett worked as an application engineer and senior application engineer from approximately April 2012 to July 2016. Wang worked as an application engineer, senior application engineer, project lead and principal application engineer from approximately October 2008 to March 2017. Lastly, Murray worked as a software engineer, senior engineer and project lead from March 2011 to October 2016. All three women worked at Oracle's headquarters in Redwood Shores in California.

The three ex-staffers aim to represent all women employed by Oracle in California in IT, product development or support job functions at any time during the time period beginning four years prior to the filing of the original complaint.

"As a result of its unlawful and/or unfair business practices, Oracle has reaped and continues to reap unfair and illegal profits at the expense of Plaintiffs and Class members. Accordingly, Oracle should be disgorged of its illegal profits, and Plaintiffs and Class members are entitled to restitution with interest of such ill-gotten profits in an amount according to proof at the time of trial," stated the lawsuit.

Oracle told IT Pro it did not want to provide a comment.

Oracle was hit by a lawsuit from the US Department of Labor back in January which claimed the company engaged in systematic discrimination against employees in violation of pay and hiring laws.

It claimed the company violated equal opportunities practices by paying white male employees more than colleagues with the same job title, discriminating against female, African American, and Asian employees. The lawsuit also alleged Oracle favoured recruiting Asian workers in its hiring practices for product development and other technical roles, which included a referral bonus scheme for Asian employees who recruited other Asian applicants.

19/01/2017: Oracle sued by US for "systematic discrimination"

Oracle has been hit by a lawsuit from the US Department of Labour, which claims the company has engaged in a "systematic" discrimination against employees in violation of pay and hiring laws.

The suit, filed by the department's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), claims Oracle violated equal opportunities practices by paying white male employees more than colleagues with the same job title, discriminating against female, African American and Asian employees.

The OFCCP also alleges that Oracle operated a "systematic practice of favouring Asian workers in its recruiting and hiring practices for product development and other technical roles", including referral bonus scheme for Asian employees who recruited other Asian applicants.

As a federal contractor, Oracle is bound by laws including section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which prohibits contractors from engaging in employee and hiring discrimination and requires them to submit to regular equal opportunities reviews.

Oracle has secured "hundreds of millions in federal government contracts" manufacturing software and hardware products for US departments, according to the suit.

"Federal contractors are required to comply with all applicable anti-discrimination laws... we filed this lawsuit to enforce those requirements," said OFCCP acting director, Thomas Dowd.

But, according to the lawsuit, during a 2014 compliance review of Oracle's practices at its headquarters in Redwood Shores, the company "refused to comply with the agency's routine requests for employment data and records". This included a refusal to provide information on employee compensation and a complete list of hiring data for specific product lines.

The lawsuit states: "OFCCP attempted for almost a year to resolve Oracle's alleged discrimination violations before filing the suit. If Oracle fails to provide relief as ordered in the lawsuit, OFCCP requests that all its government contracts be canceled and that it be debarred from entering into future federal contracts."

Deborah Hellinger, head of global corporate communications at Oracle, has rejected the acusations, stating: "The complaint is politically motivated, based on false allegations, and wholly without merit. Oracle values diversity and inclusion, and is a responsible equal opportunity and affirmative action employer. Our hiring and pay decisions are non-discriminatory and made based on legitimate business factors including experience and merit."

US authorities issued a violation notice to Oracle in March 2016, and again in June to avoid enforcement proceedings, but were ultimately unable to secure Oracle's voluntary compliance with the law.

The OFCCP has called for the court at the Office of Administrative Law Judges to "enjoin Oracle permanently from discriminating against females, African Americans and Asians in compensation practices" and against "African American, Hispanic and Caucasian applicants in hiring practices".

The suit also calls for Oracle to compensate employees affected by the alleged practice, which would cover lost wages, salary adjustments and lost opportunities for promotion. If Oracle fails to abide by the terms of the lawsuit, the OFCCP is seeking to debar the company from securing future contracts.

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