Oracle provides contracting services for the feds via its cloud computing software, resulting in "hundreds of millions" of dollars in government contracts, per a Labor Department release. That means the tech company has to adhere to federal nondiscriminatory hiring practices, which a DOL lawsuit announced Wednesday says has not been the case, CNN reports. The complaint alleges Oracle has, in a "systemic practice," extended higher paychecks to white males over female, African-American, and Asian workers with the same job title. On the flip side, the company is also accused of having a bias toward Asian workers (specifically, Asian Indians, per BuzzFeed), with "targeted recruitment" and "referral bonuses" coaxing "its heavily Asian workforce to recruit other Asians."
The DOL has been trying to address complaints of a lack of diversity in Silicon Valley, and it has filed suit in recent months against other federal contractors, including Google to turn over compensation data, data software firm Palantir for discriminating against Asian applicants, and JPMorgan Chase for gender discrimination in a complaint also filed Wednesday, per Reuters. But here's where the politics supposedly come into play, which is what Oracle claims is the underlying impetus: Oracle CEO Safra Catz and Peter Thiel, co-founder of Palantir, are both members of President-elect Trump's transition team, with Catz saying last month she would "tell the president-elect that we are with him and will help in any way we can." An Oracle spokeswoman calls the suit "politically motivated" and "wholly without merit."