The US Department of Labour found technology giant Oracle guilty of underpaying some of its employees. Those affected include Americans including women and people of African American and Hispanic origin. Indians were among those who were in part beneficiaries of the discrimination.
“Oracle recruited, selected, and hired Asian applicants, particularly Asian Indians, for PTI roles at a rate significantly greater than their non-Asian counterparts who were equally or more qualified for the roles,” the order said.
Between January 1, 2013, and June 30, 2014, “Oracle hired approximately 670 applicants into PTI roles. Of those hires, Oracle hired 1 percent African Americans, 2 percent Hispanics, 14 percent whites, and 82 percent Asian applicants. Of the Asian hires, 60 percent were Asian Indians,” according to the order.
Asian Indians made up for 45 percent of the total hires in the period. However, the company preferred to pay its white employees up to 25 percent more than other races.
The damages calculated by the department were at least USD 401 million in wages between 2013 and 2016.
The findings could be a major setback, at least in terms of perception, for Oracle as well as other IT companies operating in the US who hire Indian H-1B visa holders.
Several Indian technology majors have been accused of discriminating against Americans in an ongoing class-action suit. However, in a major victory, a US jury ruled in November 2018 that Tata Consultancy Consultancy Services (TCS) was not guilty of discriminatory hiring practices against American workers.
Lawsuits against Infosys, Wipro, HCL Technologies and Cognizant are still pending.
The latest order against Oracle has also come at a time when the White House under Donald Trump is considering tweaks to the H-1B visa norms, which have already been tightened significantly in the last year.
The suits against Oracle come amid growing awareness and frustration in Silicon Valley about gender and racial discrimination in the tech industry. Last fall, some 20,000 Google workers took part in a walkout in part to protest pay discrimination against women at the company. ―Business Insider