Oracle faces Labor Department lawsuit over job discrimination

It allegedly pays white men more, and favors Asian workers for technical roles.

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Google isn't the only Silicon Valley staple facing a lawsuit over the fairness of its hiring practices. The US Department of Labor has sued Oracle for allegedly conducting discriminatory employment practices. The enterprise tech giant is accused of paying white male workers more than minorities and women in similar positions, and of favoring Asian people for "technical roles." The lawsuit isn't coming out of the blue, though -- it's really the culmination of a battle that started when an investigation began in 2014.

The Labor Department says that Oracle has refused to obey requests for employment data, such as discrimination complaints, hiring data and prior-year compensation levels. Compliance officials say they spent "almost a year" trying to solve discrimination issues before the lawsuit came about.

It won't shock you at all to hear that Oracle disputes the claims. In a statement to USA Today, the company insists that the lawsuit is "politically motivated, based on false allegations, and wholly without merit." True or not, the stakes are high. Oracle is a government contractor, and that means it risks losing all its government contracts if it's found to be violating anti-discrimination rules. It may not have much choice but to turn over data and change its ways if it wants to avoid both losing a major customer and hurting its reputation.