Tech Giant, Oracle, Allegedly Underpaid Minorities, Favored Student Visa Holders
Jennifer G. Hickey
While the government was partially shut down, President Trump has floated several potential concessions, including granting a path to citizenship for H-1B visa holders. Before he pulls the trigger, the president might want to consider the latest example of discriminatory hiring uncovered by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL).In an amended complaint filed Jan. 22 by the Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs argues that tech giant Oracle had engaged in discrimination against minorities, while demonstrating an “extreme preference” for immigrant visa holders.The DOL alleges that “Oracle strongly preferred hiring Asian recent graduates for Product Development jobs, almost to the exclusion of qualified available graduates of any other race” or ethnic background.The investigation stems from 2014 Labor Department audit of Oracle that served as the basis for the original complaint filed in January 2017.Although DOL maintained Oracle destroyed or refused to turn over some relevant hiring information, they were able to demonstrate discriminatory hiring patterns.For example, between 2013 and 2016, 90 percent of those hired into Professional Technical positions were Asian , even though less than 65 percent of the graduates recruited by Oracle were Asian.DOL argues in court papers that the “vast majority” of Oracle’s hires through college recruiting were “international students with student visas, almost all of whom were Asian.”Making matters worse, during those years Oracle didn’t hire a single black or Hispanic recent graduate.In the eyes of the Labor Department, Oracle’s motivation was guided by the financial bottom-line, not the recruitment of top-class skills.“These students required work authorization to remain in the United States after graduation. In other words, Oracle overwhelmingly hires workers dependent upon Oracle sponsorship to remain in the United States,” states the complaint.Oracle tried and failed to have the case thrown out of court and having lost on the facts, they fell back on the defense that the allegations are all fiction.Oracle Executive Vice President and General Counsel Dorian Daley called Labor’s lawsuit “meritless” and “based on false allegations and a seriously flawed process within the OFCCP that relies on cherry picked statistics rather than reality.”The problem for Oracle is that after years of underpaying minorities, discriminating against American college graduates, and trying to exploit foreign labor, the Labor Department finally appears to be cracking down, according to observers.“OFCCP seems to have a ‘working theory’ that employers in the tech industry use cheaper, foreign labor to help keep down wages and that translates into race and national origin discrimination,” Matthew Camardella, a lawyer with the firm Jackson Lewis, told Bloomberg Law. “The clearest example of this comes out of the Oracle complaint.”But it is not the only example. Last year, DOL found Cisco Systems engaged in discriminatory practices by passing on native-born American workers in favor of H-1B visa holders and last August the CEO of two Washington State tech companies was arrested on charges he was running a visa-fraud scheme.All of these cases should make the case to President Trump that expanding the program or providing even a stone for a pathway to citizenship would be a slap in the face of the American worker.
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