Oracle Calls Federal Employment Lawsuit 'Politically Motivated'

Oracle, accused by the U.S. government in the federal court of discriminatory hiring practices, said Wednesday those charges were baseless and motivated by politics.

"The complaint is politically motivated, based on false allegations, and wholly without merit," said Deborah Hellinger, Oracle's vice president of corporate communications, in a prepared statement.

The Labor Department's administrative lawsuit alleges the Redwood City, Calif.-based technology giant, a large supplier of technology to federal agencies, pays white men more than their counterparts and favors hiring Asian applicants for technical positions at the company.

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The lawsuit threatens federal contracts for Oracle and its partners. The company launched its business decades ago by supplying database software to national security agencies and its continued role as a federal contractor makes it subject to government oversight of its hiring practices.

The Labor Department's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs began looking at Oracle's employment practices in 2014, a time when Silicon Valley's lack of diversity began to receive more outside scrutiny.

Oracle's representative didn't elaborate on their claim that politics motivated the legal action.

"Oracle values diversity and inclusion and is a responsible, equal opportunity and affirmative action employer. Our hiring and pay decisions are non-discriminatory and made based on legitimate business factors including experience and merit," Hellinger said.

The lawsuit alleges that Oracle paid white men more than women, African-American and Asian employees. At the same time, Asian job applicants were more likely to receive positions in product development and engineering positions.

Oracle didn't cooperate with the inquiry that spurred the Labor Department's lawsuit, withholding pay and hiring data requested by the investigatory body.