Oracle Ordered to Turn Over More Pay Data in DOL Bias Case (1)

May 17, 2019, 4:46 PMUpdated: May 17, 2019, 6:17 PM

Oracle Corp. must submit additional employee salary information in ongoing litigation involving the tech giant’s pay practices, but it won’t have to turn over all of the data requested by the Labor Department.

The company must turn over salary information for employees who worked at its Redwood City, Calif. headquarters in product development, information technology, and support job functions between Jan. 1, 2010, and Dec. 31, 2012, according to a May 16 administrative law judge ruling.

The case by the DOL’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs accuses Oracle of discriminating against female, black, and Asian employees, who are allegedly owed more than $400 million in wages.

The administrative law judge’s order comes three weeks after Oracle and the agency settled hiring claims related to its college recruiting practices. Oracle allegedly favored visa-holding Asian applicants when hiring on college campuses, a practice the company agreed to improve. It will report its progress to the agency for two years.

Regarding the pay bias claims, Oracle has already provided the agency “seven sets of requests for the production of documents with over 230 distinct requests,” according to the latest ruling. However, the OFCCP requested additional salary history “going back to 1985 for every Oracle employee in the relevant job categories who was employed at any point between January 1, 2013 and January 18, 2019.”

The agency said the data was “necessary” to complete statistical analysis.

ALJ Richard Clark said the “claims of necessity are much overstated.”

“OFCCP’s broad assertions of necessity are not compelling,” Clark said. “Tellingly, OFCCP submitted no declaration or other evidence from a suitable expert that explained why the data was as necessary as its moving papers claimed.”

Data Push Back

This isn’t the first time the agency has received push back for requesting large amounts of pay data from employers. The agency randomly audits approximately 1 to 2 percent of 120,000 federal contractors each year to ensure compliance with equal employment opportunity laws.

The OFCCP previously sought the salary histories of about 25,000 employees at Google’s Mountain View, Calif. headquarters, dating back to 1998. A judge deemed that request too burdensome, and the agency later dropped its appeal of that ruling in February 2019.

In the Oracle case, the agency and the company have publicly laid out misconduct allegations against one another throughout the litigation. These include claims of “secret pacts” between the agency and private plaintiffs’ attorneys, and accusations of Oracle deflecting attention from the pay bias claims.

Clark has already scolded both parties, advising them to “to behave in a professional, courteous manner and avoid unnecessary and contentious litigation strategies that are often mistaken for zealous advocacy.”

Oracle declined to comment and the agency didn’t immediately respond to requests for a comment.

Oracle’s additional data must be provided within 25 days of the judge’s order. A hearing in the case is set for Dec. 5.

The case is OFCCP v. Oracle Am., Inc., Dep’t of Labor A.L.J., No. 2017-OFC-00006, order 5/16/19.

(Updated to include Oracle's response.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Paige Smith in Washington at psmith@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jay-Anne B. Casuga at jcasuga@bloomberglaw.com; Terence Hyland at thyland@bloomberglaw.com

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