The U.S. Labor Department has sued Oracle America Inc, alleging that the technology company systematically paid its white, male employees more than other workers and unlawfully favored Asian applicants in its recruiting and hiring efforts.
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The department in a complaint filed with an administrative judge in Washington said the company was prohibited from engaging in racial discrimination given the hundreds of millions of dollars it receives as a contractor with the federal government.
Oracle America is a unit of Oracle Corp.
Oracle spokeswoman Deborah Hellinger in a statement said the claims were baseless and "politically motivated," and that the company bases employment decisions on experience and merit.
"Oracle values diversity and inclusion, and is a responsible equal opportunity and affirmative action employer," she said.
In the complaint, the department says Oracle paid white male employees at its Redwood Shores, California headquarters more than female and non-white workers with the same job titles, even when taking into account for experience and seniority.
At the same time, according to the complaint, Oracle was far more likely to hire Asian applicants - particularly Indian people - for product development and technical roles than black, white or Hispanic job seekers.
The department also said that during its investigation, which began in 2014, Oracle refused to provide relevant information about its pay practices.
(Reporting by Daniel Wiessner in Albany, New York)