back to article Ex-Oracle manager claims he was fired for asking to give Indian staff equal pay

A former Oracle sales manager has filed a lawsuit against the database giant alleging that he was fired after refusing to offer an Indian job candidate a lower salary than would ordinarily be extended to candidates from the US. In a filing with the US District Court in Northern California, Ian Spandow claimed he lost his job …

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Hope he wins his case

It is about time someone stood up for equql pay for equal work. Too many global companies are getting away with importing lower paid foreign workers at the expense of equally qualified locals. These practices hurt everyone except the board members.

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But, but ... MUH PAY GRADE!

You can do it yourself, now.

Stand up. Then sit down again.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Hope he wins his case

"In a filing with the US District Court in Northern California, Ian Spandow claimed he lost his job because he wanted to offer a job prospect higher pay than $50,000 per year, which his supervisor allegedly described as "good money for an Indian."

The 'supervisor' was probably a little confused, coming from the hills of Kentucky or Tennessee and watching one too many NASCAR races, he probably thought 'Indian' was a reference to American Native Indians which would explain his bigotry.

If it had been explained to him that India was a country and that this particular Indian came from there the matter would have been resolved. I'd be interested to hear how much he thought a Mexican was worth though.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Hope he wins his case

Exactly. But it's Oracle so did anyone seriously expect better behaviour?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Hope he wins his case

"at the expense of equally qualified locals. "

These guys have third world Indian university degrees. That's not equal to the locals. Just cheaper...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: at the expense of equally qualified locals

Maybe they're comparing java certifications? in that case they would be equal. Obviously the value of an Oracle-money-making-java-qualification is open to debate

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Anonymous Coward

an Indian?

Like... someone from Indiana? And where's the state of Oracle anyway? South coast?

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Oooh boy

This doesn't look good for Oracle. They're gonna have a lot of trouble convincing people they are clean on this one.

That said, does the sentence "He knows everyone on the team, and will of course, know what they earn within days of arriving" reflect reality? People are pretty tight lipped at my company on the subject. I believe that technically, a company is not allowed to forbid workers to tell each other their salaries, but guidelines are often respected that I understand.

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Re: Oooh boy

Well perhaps he won't know their exact salary, but if the American folks were paid over and above "normal" and this Indian guy was going to get 50% of "normal" the difference in lifestyle/dress/etc should be pretty obvious wouldn't you think? Seems plausible that a 50%+ disparity would be noticed pretty quickly.

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Re: Oooh boy

"People are pretty tight lipped at my company on the subject. I believe that technically, a company is not allowed to forbid workers to tell each other their salaries, but guidelines are often respected that I understand."

It's never spoken about openly, just under the table and quiet wispers. Depending on the company, some wispers were more loud than others, if you know what I mean.

Dunno about the "forbid workers to tell each other their salaries", I've worked for companies where we were quite clearly told to never discuss our pay with others. Ironically, they were the companies where the wispers where the loudest. For good reason too - they had two pay scales, way too much, and discracefully not enough.

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Re: Oooh boy

Discussions about salary are not quite as taboo in the States as in the UK.

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Re: Dunno about the

He is technically correct. In practice not so much. First you have to know it is illegal for the company to tell you not to. Then if you get fired, you have to be willing to fight it which will likely take years. If you win, you're stuck working at a place you probably hate as much as they hate you. Easier to just find a better job elsewhere, even in this lousy economy.

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Re: Oooh boy

in the US the courts have ruled you can not tell employees not to discuss pay. They ruled that this makes it harder to for people to find out if they are being discriminated against

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Anonymous Coward

Tight lips

I went for an interview once with a nameless UK consulting company (DES, anag.) and was told explicitly that it was a disciplinary offence to discuss salary (or, to be precise, one's remuneration package as a whole) with colleagues. Well, potential colleagues, in the event. The interview was a great success, in that both parties agreed to call the deal off, pronto.

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Angel

and HR stands for . . .

Human Rats?

Heads rolling?

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Anonymous Coward

The amount of valid H1B visas in my office makes the system a laughing stock. 50 permanent staff, and at least 5 H1B's for standard positions in an IT company in the middle of Silicon Valley, along with transfers from HQ (based overseas)

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Anonymous Coward

Violates basic economy rules

A nation's (India or any other) labor is cheap because they can buy things at lower prices at their place (may not be of same quality, but 1 chair equals to 1 chair). Now, it's only fair to pay an employee lower wages if he can afford that furniture (food, home or consumables) at a lower price. This is how offshore development came in picture.

Now, if the employee comes to a country where chairs are costlier but his wages are not up to the marks, he will have to sit on bed all day, or at floor. Or worse, he'll work overtime for more earnings which is not good for his health (although not forced labor).

Also, since the employer is now getting extra hours and dedication, it'll detach itself even more from the local labor (who also needs chairs). So, at the end chairs will not be sold and homes will not be sold and so on... and then chairs will seem costlier even to those big-corp managers as well.

You know all this? Then why not those big bald d*** h***s ...

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Re: Violates basic economy rules

^^^ It's OK, 'dead heads' isn't swears.

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Re: Violates basic economy rules

I don't think anyone forced employee to move from India to USA, If he does not like salary in US he can stay home.

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Re: Violates basic economy rules

You're overthinking this. What a manager sees is that on the short term he can offer a lower salary to a worker here on an H1B visa. That's all he's really concerned about.

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WTF?

Unbelievable

This isn't directly analogous to the Striesand Effect I know, but the outcome could well be very similar. I hope. They don't have a leg to stand on; this guy seems to have ticked all the constitutional boxes in his complaint and I don't see any wiggle room for Oracle, unless they try and leverage the L-1 visa issue. But even if they argue successfully that they can fire someone without notice due to their visa status, the whole sordid affair is now out in the open where it belongs.

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insane

An Irish person temporarily in the US suing oracle about an indian coming to the US because they didn't like market based pay. I'm thinking it was a huge pay raise to come to the US. It's supply and demand not some mythical fairness.

Oh well....glad I am not working for an IT company.....it is cut throat now.....much better to be in the cpg industry.

Cheers!

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Irish

The pay was not "market based." You probably should take a few remedial reading lessons. Oracle was not proposing to have the Indian employee work in India, where 50K a year would indeed be good pay, but in the US, where it is not that thrilling, at all. Being Irish, Spandow's family history, like mine, probably has some stories of just how difficult it could be to Irish in England or the US merely because of your last name. The odds are that the Indian employee was considerably better educated than the louts in HR any way and was worth a great deal more in a real "market" than an HR would be.

A market is negotiated. When HR sets the pay scale unilaterally, biases offers based on hopeful ignorance, and won't negotiate in in good faith, there really isn't a "market." In fact, the market ower should all on the other side. Oracle is proposing to "buy" skilled labor to produce a product that none of the HR staff or - likely - company management are competent to produce. Unions came into existence to deal with that kind of crap.

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Re: Irish

Look,

Here's the thing in a nutshell. If the Indian was a green card holder, or a US Citizen, and had worked with the hiring manager at a different company... then if HR was offering a lower salary solely because he was an Indian, it would clearly be discrimination and the hiring manager would be correct in blowing the whistle.

But that's not the case. That didn't happen.

Its an issue of an L1 visa transfer. The law is going to be different on an internal transfer versus a new employee hire.

I think that you've got a serious chip on your shoulder and introducing some personal bias in to a situation which is completely different. BTW if there was a union in place... they would have hired an American from outside of the company prior to bringing in an L1 transfer. So aren't you glad that there isn't an union in place?

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probably should have left it

qt the Indian employee thing since he seems to have some documentation (emails, etc) that can bolster his case and foregone the 'they fired me because I was a mick' angle since he was a mick when they hired him.

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Re: probably should have left it

I can tell you that there are big organizations that will call employees in to let them know "we are going to reduce your pension/ rehire you all to reduce seniority/ *&^% you over in general because we can and want to..." and then tell you, "you are not to discuss this with anyone." Healthcare providers can be particularly egregious that way. "We particularly do not want you discussing this where patients may hear you. They might mistakenly get the idea that we really don't give a flying &*^T$%# about their care or safety (well we don't but they don't know and don't need to)."

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Re: probably should have left it

They can only do that if you let them. If you fight it, they'll back down or loose a bundle.

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>The policy is seriously detrimental to the US own education system and base of talent. They are deliberately being priced out, and the result is fewer graduates entering the field. This weakens the nation in the long haul.

Guess its a good thing as shown by Eduardo Saverin that rich people are multinational and could care less about the current country they are in. They can just get on their yacht and emmigrate somewhere else in 24 hours.

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R69

Prepare for consumer inflation...probably

While I agree this sort of thing is pretty disgraceful, if Oracle lose and the results for them and every other corporation currently taking advantage of this sort of situation are obvious....increased labour costs.

The natural order of things in this unreasonably short term capitalist world we live in, is that this will squeeze bottom lines and if the fat cats are to get their bonuses, the hedge funds need to be kept on side. This for you & me can only ever mean one thing....higher prices.

Those wankers in the city who spend their lives gambling away other peoples' money have a lot to answer for...but perhaps slighlty less than the spineless governments who consistently refuse to do anything about them.

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Re: Prepare for consumer inflation...probably

That's fine with me, I never by an Oracle license and probably never will.

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Re: Prepare for consumer inflation...probably

Uhm, they ARE the government.

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I can vouch for his truthiness.

My moms friend in USA Virginia came to USA on a H1B visa from India.

After more than 10 years later he became a US citizen. He came foward with his citizenship to his boss and then his boss told him to train 5 new hires also from india to replace him or be fired.

It is that point that many companies will not hire Americans because they cost too much even if they truly have all the skill sets needed and required by the company.

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3 cheers for Me.Spandow

And 3 boos for Oracle.

I hope anyone looking to them for a job takes note.

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It happens everywhere

My boss doesn't make any bones about it -- future hires will concentrate on candidates under work visas from India for budgetary reasons. They get paid less, and that makes his budget look better.

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Anonymous Coward

Here's a big money saving idea

Hire a CEO and other senior execs from India. They are at least as qualified -- many of them studied at American business schools -- and entrepreneurial, and the company would save millions, instead of the few thousands they save hiring sales and tech people that way.

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Re: Here's a big money saving idea

Though your heart is in the right place and they are likely to be no more incompetent they probably will run afoul of anti bribery laws in their first week here.

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Add all these who commented here into this law suite

Just Kidding.

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Visa Fraud

The real focus of this should be the abuse of the visa system and the nagative effect it has on the local employees and economy.

There is supposed to be a whole procedure that companies have to go through to ensure that a local labor pool has the opportunity to compete for the position BEFORE it offered to someone outside the country on the basis of a H1 Visa. Its the law yet companies just ignore it to get a pool of cheap labor. And all the while these same companies are spending millions lobbying the government to open up the visa system, not because they cant get appropriately qualified staff locally but just because they want them cheap.

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Re: Visa Fraud

...this is the correct motorcycle.

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Re: Visa Fraud

You do realize that this is an issue over L1 visas which are internal company transfers and not an H1B visa issue?

Its not a simple thing...

At IBM you send an Amerikan to another country for some global seasoning, he gets to keep his salary. This is good if he's going to go to Brazil or South Africa where he can live a really good life because of the lower cost of living.

A few years ago, IBM wanted to 'repatriate' workers. So if you were an Indian citizen who was working for IBM in the US, they would fire you in the US and rehire you in India at the commensurate rates in India.

Replace India with other countries. Again this isn't an L1 type of transfer, but letting you keep your job, doing your same work, in a lower wage earning country of course at local pay.

From what I heard, not many takers, yet it was legal.

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Ulterior motive?

If US firms can be made to pay imported labor the same as native, they might some day be required to buy only from overseas firms whose employees enjoy purchasing power equivalent to workers here in the US.

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If no one else will ask then . . .

Whats a Grecian earn?

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Pay Grades?

What are those ? Every man for themselves round here!

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