The U.S. Labor Department won’t appeal its loss to
“The Solicitor of Labor and I have decided not to pursue the case further because we believe the likelihood of prevailing on appeal is low and because OFCCP no longer evaluates compensation in the manner rejected by the ALJ in this case,” said Craig Leen, head of the DOL’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, in a Thursday statement. “Instead, OFCCP will learn from the decision in an effort to continue improving the efficacy of its critically important compensation program.”
In exchange, Oracle agreed to dismiss a lawsuit it brought in federal court against the Labor Department in November 2019, alleging the agency’s administrative trial system for discrimination claims exceeds its authority and is unconstitutional.
In the OFCCP’s suit against Oracle, an administrative law judge wrote in a 278-page recommended decision and order Sept. 22 that the evidence the agency provided fell short of proving “that Oracle’s executives knew about, hid, and ignored widespread disparities.”
The agency alleged the company systemically underpaid women and minorities at Oracle’s headquarters, and sued the company in January 2017, in the waning days of the Obama administration. DOL had sought $400 million from the company.
“Oracle won a decisive victory in the action brought by the OFCCP, so it comes as no surprise that the Department of Labor agreed to both decline an appeal of the decision and to close all other pending audits that were based on the same ill-conceived theories,” Oracle’s general counsel Dorian Daley said in an email. “Oracle’s win brings an end to four years of scorched earth tactics that sought to smear the reputation of the company and its leadership.”
The OFCCP audits federal contractors for compliance with equal employment opportunity and anti-discrimination obligations, a process that includes statistical analyses of contractors’ workforce pay data. The case against Oracle was based on statistical evidence, and legal experts said the agency’s defeat could have repercussions for how DOL uses such data to enforce workplace civil rights laws among federal contractors.
DOL had until Dec. 7 to consider whether to appeal the judge’s order to the administrative review board, an action known as filing an exception.
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