DOL Sues Oracle

The Dept. of Labor has filed a complaint against Oracle, charging discrimination on the basis of race, gender and ethnicity. DOL especially alleges that the firm favors Asians in general, and Indians in particular. This is the same agency that charged that Palantir was biased against Asians, as I reported here in September.

Of course, the connection to H-1B, OPT and so on could be major. Oracle does hire a lot of foreign workers, and the general data on H-1B show that most H-1Bs are Indian. It is also worth mentioning another suit against Oracle, in which a former Oracle manager was told to underpay an H-1B because it was “good money for an Indian.”

At that time I wrote about the Palantir case, I discussed some statistical issues, which seem to be carefully addressed in this Oracle case. DOL found that

Specifically, OFCCP found gross disparities in pay [at Oracle] even after controlling for job title, full-time status, exempt status, global career level, job speciality, estimated prior work experience, and company tenure.

When the Mercury News reporter contacted me today for comment on the suit against Oracle, he asked whether I thought the Trump administration will continue to bring suits of this nature against Valley firms. Interesting question, I told him. 🙂 I said I was hopeful that they will.


17 thoughts on “DOL Sues Oracle

  1. I really like to see Oracle in hot water. They are the nastiest software company in existence. And that is saying something.


  2. The Indian community supported Obama quite heartily in both elections… Not surprised he would wait until the last minute to “punish” them for this. He seems to be equally adept at stabbing both friends and enemies.


  3. What is missing from the published data is the workforce composition detail as to ethnicity and visa/citizenship status. It would be interesting to know the number of native citizens, naturalized citizens, permanent residents, guest workers (F1-OPT, H-1B, H4-EAD, L1, L2, J2, …) of the various ethnic groups.

    I consider a born citizen of Asian heritage to be very different from a guest worker from Asia. The differences between the various home countries is also important.

    The educational background of the various groups would also be interesting. One component that cannot be forgotten is citizens who obtain their education outside the US.

    Norm, I noticed redactions in the tables. Do you consider this information to be significant to the discussion?


    • The only statistic I’ve read is UN Migration Policy Institute’s. 69% of all computer related jobs are filled by H1Bs. And over 90% of H1Bs are Asian, 70% from India, at least 20% from China.
      No stats on the remaining 31% of computer related jobs, so some of those may also be filled by L1, OPT, J1, F1.


  4. Given Trump’s cabinet picks I’m not optimistic. But Trump being Trump (i.e., unpredictable), who knows. I doubt very much that he has anything remotely like a defined position, probably because he knows very little about the issues, and wouldn’t remember them if he had ever bothered to examine them. Trump’s pick for DOL head – Andy Puzder – doesn’t like the idea of raising the minimum wage, and also likes to bash big corporations. This seems contradictory, but Puzder is a rich, conservative businessman and seems to have an equal disregard for big business and labor. Hard to know where this is all going.


  5. Why just Oracle? Qualcomm does not hire Americans, Disney dumped Americans in favor of Indians, etc. Why not 1000 suits?


  6. That’s great news. I hope Trump’s DOL brings the hammer down on this dirty, sleazy, American worker replacement program in tech shops throughout America. India needs to keep its people in India. The USA cannot provide jobs to a billion Indians.


  7. > Oracle includes limited diversity information in corporate citizenship reports issued every two years. The 2014 report said Oracle had 37 percent minority employees and 29 percent females.

    > For product management and other technical jobs, Asians made up 75 percent of applicants, the lawsuit said.
    > “They’re somehow favoring Asians in the application process,” Herold said. “Their applicant pool is crazy full of Asians.”
    > The fact that the workers in those jobs are 82 percent Asian shows that Asian people were favored again during hiring, Herold said.

    At first glance, the above two statements from the article you linked seem hugely at odds. Oracle reported that they had 37 percent minority employees in 2014 but 82 percent of their product management and other technical jobs are Asians. One can only conclude that a majority of the jobs that Oracle said are 37 percent minority are, in fact, non-technical jobs. Of course, the 82 percent is no surprise to me and likely to most other tech workers in Silicon Valley. I just had an interview with a fair sized company in which I interviewed with six people, five of whom were Indian (the other one was Chinese). I did feel that I got along well enough with the interviewers. In fact, one saw my experience in R and mentioned that his wife was now looking to work in data science or web design. I couldn’t help but wonder if his wife may be entering the workforce under the new provisions that allow H4 visa holders (the spouses of H-1B workers) to work. In any case, I suggested that she focus on web design as I find that most data science jobs seem to require experience in Hadoop.

    > “You’re hiring in your own image,” Matloff said.

    > Also, Oracle’s purported emphasis on hiring Indians suggests that like other tech firms Oracle is using the controversial H-1B visa to bring in young foreign workers at lower pay than for American citizens and permanent residents, Matloff contended.

    I also couldn’t help to wonder if those interviewers might be looking to hire someone “more in their image”. That’s especially the case when they may know of H-1B workers who are lower paid and must find jobs or leave the country. Any time you have workers with lower pay or less rights than other workers, it ends up affecting all workers. It really does start to affect your efforts when you feel that the deck may be stacked against you. I find that I am spending more and more of my efforts in learning investing and computer security. Those skills will come in handy outside of the job market. That provides more motivation than learning a subject on the slim chance that it might possibly help in an interview. For those, I only practice skills which are immediately helpful in interviews (such as coding on whiteboards).


  8. Off-topic: The federal hiring freeze will be a huge benefit for the H1B crowd. During the 8 year freeze during the Bush years, some agency IT staffs lost 90% of their native workforce. However, the IT staffing level remained the same via contracting to H1B shops. Now the admin and the federal employees are mostly Indian (Green Card and recent citizens). Interesting to have these prime jobs in the hands of non-Americans. I cannot comment on performance.


  9. No one told DOL that segments of the population that earns more than WASP males can not be a minority? After all, how many Jewish people has Oracle hired?


  10. 70 years ago, my dad worked at Bell Labs. Back then they were hiring mathematicians from India. I was old enough to read their monthly publication, “The Record.”


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