January 22, 2019 · Cloud Computing, Hosting News, Web Hosting · Comments Off on Feds Also Say That Oracle Underpaid Women and Minorities

Oracle allegedly underpaid thousands of women and minority employees by $401 million over four years, according to a document filed Tuesday by the US Department of Labor, as part of an ongoing discrimination lawsuit against the software giant.

In the document, the Labor Department also claims that Oracle strongly prefers hiring Asians with student visas for certain roles because they are “dependent upon Oracle for sponsorship in order to remain in the United States,” so the company can systematically underpay them. Between 2013 and 2016, the department says, 90 percent of the 500 engineers hired through its college-recruiting program for product development jobs at its headquarters in California were Asian. Over the same four years, only six were black.

Once they are employed, Oracle also systematically underpays women, blacks, and Asians relative to their peers, the complaint claims, alleging that these disparities are driven by Oracle’s reliance on prior salaries in setting starting salaries and the company’s practice of steering black, Asian, and female employees into lower paid jobs. The department says some women were underpaid by as much as 20 percent compared with their male peers, or $37,000 in 2016.

“Oracle’s suppression of pay for its non-White, non-male employees is so extreme that it persists and gets worse over long careers; female, Black, and Asian employees with years of experience are paid as much as 25 percent less than their peers,” according to an updated complaint filed Tuesday. “Oracle’s compensation practices cause an increasing pay gap as those employees devote more of their lives to Oracle.” The Labor Department began investigating because Oracle has government contracts worth more than $100 million a year.

Oracle did not respond to a request for comment.

The document says Oracle underpaid more than 1,200 female employees by $165 million, more than 2,700 Asian employee by $234 million, and a smaller number of black employees by $1.3 million. The government’s case looks primarily at employees in product development, IT, and support roles at Oracle’s Redwood City, California, headquarters. In 2014, the department says, Oracle employed 7,500 of its 45,000 US employees at the Redwood City office. The agency claims that the total cost of Oracle’s discriminatory practices are likely “much higher” than $400 million because the company’s discrimination has continued since 2016.

The government’s allegations against Oracle echo those in a private lawsuit by former Oracle employees who say the company discriminated against them on the basis of sex. On Friday, lawyers for that group alleged in a new court filing that Oracle paid women $13,000 less than men in comparable jobs with comparable experience, based on expert analysis of Oracle’s pay data.

Pay equity is an increasingly high-profile issue in Silicon Valley, part of a broader examination of race and gender discrimination in hiring, promotion, and funding, as well as sexual harassment. When 20,000 Google employees walked out to protest the company’s practices in November, pay equity was ranked second in their list of demands.

The government lawsuit, which began in January 2017, was filed by the department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs and will be decided by an administrative law judge. The OFCCP is demanding that Oracle pay injured employees and applicants for lost wages and to correct discriminatory practices, including additional hiring.

But a bigger threat to Oracle may be the OFCCP’s demand to cancel all of Oracle’s government contracts and to bar the company from future contracts until it complies. The same office sued Google, which is also a federal contractor, for discrimination against women, alleging systemic bias against female employees. That case has been delayed while the two sides argue over how much pay data the government can get from Google.

Annual diversity reports published by major Silicon Valley companies show low numbers of under-represented minorities. In the four years since they began sharing the information, there has been little progress in improving those ratios to reflect the diversity of the industry’s billions of consumers around the world. Employers often allege that the numbers stem from a shortage of qualified candidates.

The OFCCP’s claims about systemic race discrimination at Oracle are based on comparing the number of recent college graduates of a particular race hired by Oracle versus the number of graduates at the schools where Oracle recruited and who had the degrees Oracle targeted.

However, the agency says its figures are incomplete because, it says, Oracle did not track race or ethnicity for the majority of applicants and deleted data requested by the Labor Department, including an email inbox where college recruits submitted their resumes. “There is a presumption that the information Oracle has refused to produce or destroyed was unfavorable to Oracle,” the complaint says.

Oracle tried to dismiss the Labor Department’s case based on the method for choosing administrative law judges. But last week, an administrative law judge ruled against Oracle.


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January 22, 2019 · Cloud Computing, Hosting News, Web Hosting · Comments Off on Google spends big on U.S. lobbying amid antitrust, bias battles

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Alphabet Inc’s (GOOGL.O) Google disclosed on Tuesday that it spent a company-record $21.2 million on lobbying the United States government in 2018, topping its previous high of $18.22 million in 2012, as the search engine operator fights wide-ranging scrutiny into its practices.

FILE PHOTO – The outside of the Google offices is seen in Manhattan in New York City, New York, U.S., January 18, 2019. REUTERS/Mike Segar

Google said in a quarterly disclosure to Congress that it spent $4.9 million on lobbying activities during the fourth quarter, slightly above $4.4 million in the same period a year ago. The 2018 total also surpassed $18.04 million spent on lobbying in 2017, according to tracking of the filings by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.

Google declined to comment beyond its filing.

Facebook Inc (FB.O) disclosed that it also spent its most ever on U.S. government lobbying in 2018, $12.62 million. That was up from $11.51 million a year ago, according to the Center for Responsive Politics data.

Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) spent $9.52 million on lobbying in 2018, according to its disclosure on Tuesday, up from $8.5 million in 2017.

Lawmakers and regulators have weighed new privacy and antitrust rules to rein in the power of large internet service providers such as Google, Facebook Inc (FB.O) and Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O).

Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai, who testified in December before a U.S. House of Representatives panel for the first time, has said the company backs the idea of national privacy legislation. But he has contested accusations of the company having a political bias in its search results and of stifling competition.

The company disclosed that among new lobbying areas in the fourth quarter were its search technology, criminal justice reform and international tax reform. Google is perennially among the top lobbying spenders in Washington.

Regulatory backlash in the United States, as well as Europe and Asia, is near the top of the list of concerns for Alphabet investors, according to financial analysts. Shares of Alphabet closed down 2.6 percent on Tuesday.

The company appointed former General Electric (GE.N) executive Karan Bhatia as its head of global policy last year. Susan Molinari, Google’s top U.S. public policy official, stepped down to take on an advisory role this month.

Amazon.com Inc’s (AMZN.O) filing was expected later on Tuesday.

Reporting by Paresh Dave; Additional reporting by Diane Bartz in Washington, Editing by Bill Berkrot