back to article Oracle sued by app sales rep: I made tens of millions for Larry, then fired for being neither young nor male – claim

A former Oracle application sales rep is suing the database giant, alleging gender and age discrimination, sexual harassment, and violations of US labor laws after being fired. The complaint, filed in a San Francisco district court on Monday, names Oracle and 25 unidentified defendants believed to have been involved in the …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I would believe absolutely anything of Oracle. Whether towards their customers or their employees, there is nothing I would deem too low for them. They are the embodiment of sociopathy.

    1. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
      Boffin

      @AC

      I would suspect Ageism over Sexism here.

      But seriously who would want to work for Oracle?

      1. katrinab Silver badge

        Re: @AC

        I would suspect the intersection of both ageism and sexism. A younger woman would have got a different sort of harassment. A man of that age, I'm not sure what would have happened.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: @AC

        "But seriously who would want to work for Oracle?"

        Salespeople. I might dislike Oracle's products and have a serious disdain for the company, but that's driven by my role as a technologist and a customer. If you're someone who lives and breathes the sales process, Oracle is still a top place to work. There's almost nowhere else left you can work and regularly cut seven and eight figure deals as a matter of routine.

        1. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge

          @AC Re: @AC

          For sales people its a job.

          Oracle ranks around IBM... its a steady paycheck until you find a better place to be.

          Oracle like IBM has to re-invent itself. It was primarily Oracle's high price for Exadata that caused a lot of companies to come up with a big data strategy. I mean for the cost of Oracle's licenses alone you could kit out a Hadoop cluster and break even after 16-18 months.

          Those big ticket deals are dwindling. And your quota is based on what the territory did the year prior.

          In a shrinking market... not that good.

          And yeah, I know the sales side of the biz

      3. gbshore

        Re: @AC

        Both

    2. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      @AC I think you are not thinking low enough for the minions of Larry.

      1. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
        Boffin

        @Lurker ...

        I know many of those minions.

        Oracle has many women in their sales force.

        The key metric is the base salary of the woman and those of her underlings.

        Assume that they are all on the same sales incentive plan.

        Now you take a look at the cost per revenue generated by the sales rep.

        If the woman had a base that was double that of her younger counter part and she didn't bring in twice the revenue, then she would cost more than the younger person. It would be simple math.

        So you can take a look at the cost of revenue by sales rep to see who's more efficient. It could be that the younger worker, even though he brought in less revenue was still a cheaper option.

        That's the straight bean counter argument.

        That said... the allegations of harassment is another issue. Again it could be ageism or sexism, or neither.

        Sales critters tend to be pack animals. That is... if you don't belong to their pack, they will cut you out. So it could be not so much a 'good ol boys network' but something close. (Women too can be part of the pack.)

        I was once part of a team of top performers at Big Blue.

        After I left, one of my friends was cut. Not because of his age... (they were all older seasoned vets.). But he happened to have two quarters where he was the low man in the group. Wrong place at the wrong time. I had left a couple years earlier because even though I was pulling out the best numbers in the territory, my quota exceeded what the region could produce. Its another way to force someone out. Unrealistic quotas for the territory forcing you to kill yourself for a target you could never hit.

        I wish her luck, but its always going to be difficult to prove sexism or ageism because the deck is stacked against you. The best thing you can do is to be an independent consultant. You make more for taking on slightly more risk. But you get to call your own shots.

    3. boltar

      We only have her word for it

      Oracle might not be the nicest company in the world, but this could be just some bitter former employee playing the sexism/ageism card. We only have her word for everything that supposedly happened, the truth could be that she was simply crap at her job. And she'd only been there a few years, its not like she served 20 years without any problems up until that point. The truth is usually more complex than the simplistic tabloid presentation that this site often dishes up.

      1. Julz

        Re: We only have her word for it

        Well Oracle used to give you a long service gift after five years of service. There were no other gifts for longer service. Make of that what you will.

        1. boltar

          Re: We only have her word for it

          "Well Oracle used to give you a long service gift after five years of service. There were no other gifts for longer service. Make of that what you will."

          I make nothing of it at all. Most companies have long since given up giving awards for long service.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: We only have her word for it

          Not true - at least here in the UK - I just received one for 25 years

          Only being anonymous because I don't want to be a hate figure due to my employer ... we were bought, it wasn't my choice etc etc

      2. This post has been deleted by a moderator

      3. This post has been deleted by a moderator

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: We only have her word for it

          "Oh dear, poor little snowflake moderator deleted my last comment. Probably the same mentality as all the cowards who voted me down but don't have the guts to put their side of the argument."

          Boltar, I think that given the original article sets out the counter argument pretty clearly, there shouldn't be any need.

          But as the entire basis of her claim is that she was being successful at sales, and was then harassed when the men were not, and your argument is that she wasn't successful, it's pretty open and shut. Who to believe? A commentator known for contrarian and anti-women posts or someone putting money into a lawsuit? The courts will decide.

          1. boltar

            Re: We only have her word for it

            "But as the entire basis of her claim is that she was being successful at sales, and was then harassed when the men were not, and your argument is that she wasn't successful, it's pretty open and shut."

            Its open and shut if you believe what she says. Where is the proof she was successful? Companies don't generally fire people who are making them money just because they're A) A women or B) old. That would be corporate suicide.

            1. Alien8n Silver badge

              Re: We only have her word for it

              @boltar

              "Its open and shut if you believe what she says. Where is the proof she was successful? Companies don't generally fire people who are making them money just because they're A) A women or B) old. That would be corporate suicide."

              The proof that she was successful will be held in Oracle's financial records. Records the courts will be able to gain access to. Which they will then be able to compare to the records of the other team members, to determine for themselves whether or not she was more successful than her other team members.

              From the number of names listed (25 according to the article) it sounds like quite a large team. Knowing quite a few sales people myself (we do sell things where I work) I'd find it highly unusual that both of the bottom 2 worst performing members of the team just happened to be the 2 women on the team. Again, her claims will be very easily verifiable in court.

            2. ma1010 Silver badge
              FAIL

              Re: We only have her word for it

              Companies don't generally fire people who are making them money just because they're A) A women or B) old. That would be corporate suicide.

              Ah, but corporations do commit suicide all the time, don't they? I believe that they have a lifecycle. Small startup that's quality and service oriented. Then they start to grow and tend to lose focus a bit. Then they get big and powerful, then full of hubris and start running things by whim, having internal warfare and/or invent other idiotic policies and practices which eventually kill them. Then they start to shrink with lots of redundancies and, often, even sillier policies and either sell out or turn into patent trolls. IBM comes to mind.

              From everything I've heard about them, Oracle is a company that will shaft its customers and employees. This may or may not be true, but I've heard it enough that I would certainly be unlikely to contract with them. Considering the insanity of what's been happening with the quality of Windows X, MS appears to be heading down "Suicide Alley," too. It's all too common, I'm afraid.

            3. MamaMiaaa

              Re: We only have her word for it

              > Companies don't generally fire people who are making them money just because they're A) A women or B) old

              Quite clearly you don't live in the real world do you?

            4. Denarius Silver badge
              FAIL

              Re: We only have her word for it

              boltar: That would be corporate suicide.

              Clearly you have not been around large corporations.

              1. Alien8n Silver badge

                Corporate Suicide

                As a few others have commented, big businesses commit corporate suicide all the time. From the annals of my past I give you Marconi.

                Marconi at one point was one of the largest defence contractors in the world for something called a MMIC, a very simple, but highly profitable, piece of silicon. And then the .Com boom happened. Someone at Marconi in their infinite wis^H^H^H stupidity decided they were going to rebrand as a telecoms company and jump on the network silicon bandwagon. Fibre networks were becoming big business so it was assumed a few lean years would soon result in big wins, so they shut down all of their defence contract products. And I do mean all of them. Needless to say they soon went bust, but due to their defence contracting in previous years they were considered too big to fail. That was until they failed, owing billions to the banks.

                Cue their buyout by the company I worked for and the sales droids and engineers rocking up to their new management overlords with the IP portfolio:

                "Take a look at this."

                "What is it?"

                "It's a MMIC."

                "What does it do?"

                "It makes profit."

                All the equipment and expertise still existed, they turned on the production lines and for the first time in several years the factory went from loss making to profit almost overnight. Marconi's MMICs were at one point considered the best quality in the world so were able to be put back on the market with the usual defence contractor premium. Helped postpone my old company's own financial worries for another year or 2. The old Marconi plant is now a science park (Caswell Science Park). Not sure I'd want to work there again though, it was literally in the middle of nowhere, with no mobile phone coverage and all the buildings are made of iron stone, meaning the buildings act like natural Faraday cages. Of historical significance as it was the main Spitfire manufacturing facility during WW2.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Corporate Suicide

                  "Someone at Marconi in their infinite wis^H^H^H stupidity decided they were going to rebrand as a telecoms company"

                  Eh? Marconi is one of the original names in wireless (radio), since it was first a thing! Are we talking about the same company?

                  https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/marconi-sends-first-atlantic-wireless-transmission

                  1. Alien8n Silver badge

                    Re: Corporate Suicide

                    @AC

                    "Eh? Marconi is one of the original names in wireless (radio), since it was first a thing! Are we talking about the same company?"

                    The Marconi name has evolved over the years. Back around 2000 it was primarily into telecoms. More on what happened here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marconi_Communications

                    And this was the press release regarding the buyout of the Marconi optics business: https://www.electronicsweekly.com/news/archived/resources-archived/bookham-sees-big-fall-in-revenues-in-cloudy-opto-market-2002-02/

                    Basically the company I was working for bought part of Marconi's optics division that just happened to also own Marconi's defence IP. Around the same time Nortel also went bust and their optics division was also swallowed up by the company I worked for. This left the company owning the old Marconi Caswell plant and Nortel's Paignton plant. This was all in 2002.I was in charge of integrating the various manufacturing systems used across all 3 sites. The old Nortel site was a thorn in the IT manager's side as it meant his nice clean Windows only network had to include a solitary Linux server based in Paignton as that ran the site's document control software.

      4. Alien8n Silver badge

        Re: We only have her word for it

        @boltar

        "We only have her word for everything that supposedly happened"

        It's in court, and everything she's "claimed" will be verifiable in court. If anything she has claimed turns out to be false she's then open to a counter claim by Oracle which would almost definitely cost her everything she owns plus more. I'm willing to err on the side that she's telling the truth. Especially as Oracle has form for doing exactly what she's claiming. So you can put your misogyny back in it's box and hopefully learn from this experience why you've been downvoted and moderated for your comments.

        1. boltar

          Re: We only have her word for it

          "So you can put your misogyny back in it's box"

          So because she has XX chromosomes we're supposed to automatically believe everything she says? Grow up.

          1. Alien8n Silver badge

            Re: We only have her word for it

            @boltar

            "So because she has XX chromosomes we're supposed to automatically believe everything she says? Grow up."

            No, but given Oracle's track record on this, and the fact that everything she's claimed will be verifiable by the court (Oracle will have financial records and disciplinary records for everyone involved in the case and the court will have access to them) then I'm willing to bet that yes she was fired for simply being an older woman. Which just begs the question why you're so willing to immediately accuse her of lying purely based on the fact she's female?

            As stated elsewhere, when an entire team is underperforming it's a safe bet the problem isn't the team, but the management. And by singling the women out it's also a safe bet that the prevailing "boy's club" mentality was in full swing and her managers were looking for scapegoats. Also the fact that she was granted medical leave by Oracle's HR department also shows they were aware of the harassment she was getting but refused to intervene to prevent it. All of this will be on record, and all of this will be viewable by the court.

            But don't let your hatred of women get in the way of facts ($deity help any women defendants if you ever get put on a jury)

            1. katrinab Silver badge

              Re: We only have her word for it

              If the whole team is under-performing, then either the product they are trying to sell is rubbish, or the target market just isn't big enough to justify the targets set.

      5. gbshore

        Re: We only have her word for it

        Did you not read the article? She’s hitting her numbers... no warnings or negative performance reviews ....go back, read and comprehend ...

        1. Alien8n Silver badge

          Re: We only have her word for it

          @gbshore

          He read the article, he just can't comprehend that a "mere woman" might actually be good at her job, or even, heaven forbid, better at her job than her male counterparts.

          In his mind XY > XX (always and in perpetuity).

          1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

            1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

              Re: We only have her word for it

              so maybe one day when you're a bit older and no longer hold women on a pedestal

              Ahhh.. did they all so no? Sounds like some serious butthurt right there..

              1. boltar

                Re: We only have her word for it

                "Ahhh.. did they all so no? Sounds like some serious butthurt right there.."

                And again in comprehensible English?

            2. Alien8n Silver badge

              Re: We only have her word for it

              @boltar

              "You sillly little virtue signaller. I'm sure it makes you feel validated and suits your agenda to put words into other peoples mouths but it also makes you look a fool. But then reading your other posts it seems to me you're early probably 20s so maybe one day when you're a bit older and no longer hold women on a pedestal (probably when you actually start dating some) but realise they can be as scheming as any man you'll finally get a seat on the clue train."

              If you'd actually read my comments elsewhere you may have come to the conclusion that I've been around a lot longer than you think. Since 2001 actually. As for holding a woman on a pedestal, are you talking about my wife of nearly 25 years? And there's a definite distinction between believing all women should be treated with the disdain you're showing and knowing that SOME women can be scheming. Something I do happen to have some knowledge of given my sister-in-law could arguably be described as one of the most scheming and manipulating people on the planet given she took my brother for every penny he had, as well as a very successful business when it became clear he wasn't going to die quick enough for her to make a quick buck off his life insurance. That however does not mean that every single other woman on the planet should be tarred with the same brush.

            3. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. boltar

          Re: We only have her word for it

          "She’s hitting her numbers"

          She SAYS she was hitting her numbers. How hard it to understand this disctinction? Until its all out in court no one on here knows so modding me down simply for expressing that fact is the act of petulant little children. But thats par for the course on this site these days.

          Go on kiddies , mod me down even more. Oh bless, does it make you feel all sanctimonious morally superior by joining the right-on group think? LOL :)

          1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

            Re: We only have her word for it

            How hard it to understand this disctinction

            About as difficult as you being incapable of understanding that Oracle will have to defend their actions in court and, if (as expected) she was fired simply for the crime of having an additional X gene, then they'll be shown for the serial mysoginists that they are..

            Sounds like you'd fit in there well.

            1. boltar

              Re: We only have her word for it

              "Oracle will have to defend their actions in court "

              Yes, and?

              "(as expected)"

              By whom? You? Or you think this article was written by an Oracle insider and not just another Reg wannabe tabloid journo with an agenda?

              "Sounds like you'd fit in there well."

              Sounds like you're another poster who can't - or doesn't want to - read but simply wants to jump on the bandwagon to get mod points.

              1. A. Coatsworth Silver badge
                Thumb Up

                Re: We only have her word for it

                >>just another Reg wannabe tabloid journo with an agenda?

                Wow, boltar, thanks a lot for opening my eyes to the insidious anti-Orcale, pro-women (*shudder*) conspiracy that is going on in the underbelly of The Register.

                I'll cancel my subscription and demand a refund forthwith!

  2. elDog Silver badge

    Larry's Leisure Suites aren't cheap!

    Larry may be but the suits are of the finest cloth.

    This type of behaviour has been reported frequently for this company as well as for many others that have the same business model - "The Art Of The Deal" and "Screw Them All".

    1. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

      Re: Larry's Leisure Suites aren't cheap!

      Don't give Larry any ideas. We're lucky that Trump is only capable of wasteful distractions.

  3. muhfugen

    It begs the question if Oracle discriminates against her for her gender, why did they even hire her in the first place?

    1. YourNameHere

      Because they didn't think they would get their butts kicked by them. They assumed that they would be able to continue to play XBOX during the day, draw huge salaries and the new hires would be no threat. Wrong.

    2. fandom Silver badge

      More likely because she wasn't hired by the people who ended up managing her.

      And then because the managers need a scapegoat for the bad performance.

      But then, she is in sales, she may be "embelleshing" what happened.

      1. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

        @fandom: "But then, she is in sales, she may be "embelleshing" what happened."

        I agree 110% .

        1. deive

          @fandom: "But then, she is in sales, she may be "embelleshing" what happened."

          You know I hate sales in general as much as everyone else seems to here (in general), but you would not as an individual take a large corp to court in America if you didn't at least have truth on your side. The courts are just too expensive and unreliable. This is why I believe she is telling the truth, plus the fact that.. it's bloody oracle!

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oracle sales was a mess at that time..

    Uncle Larry's minions had ordered their US sales teams to focus exclusively on sales of Cloud Services, and push any inquiries about on-premise software sales to Hyderabad-based telephone sales centers. No bonuses for US sales for non-Cloud sales, either. I'm willing to bet Oracle FSAA sales were hurt because who wants to put their financial data in the cloud, it's safer to sit back and skip a version and wait for it to sort itself out. Source = drunk Oracle salespeople and observation as a client, hence AC posting.

  5. Cyril

    If a whole sales department misses their goals, you don't PIP the workers, you PIP the managers. You fire the only two women in your department? There is zero chance that it is a coincidence. In the US you don't ever fire the last woman in your department unless you have fired a couple of men before her. And you better have hard numbers that will stand up in court before you even consider it.

    1. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      More than liking she was in the upper part of the group given her experience for total sales and being on plan. I would have expected a couple of the younger, party animal men to be on the bottom (deserving to be fired) not a couple of middle aged women. (I am a male btw). Something smell rotten.

  6. Mayday Silver badge
    Alert

    Micromanaging

    Whilst not a fan of this practice (at all, or of Oracle for that matter) one may assume that if multiple team members were on a performance management plan for not meeting targets then the manager(s) of that team were too.

  7. FozzyBear Silver badge
    Devil

    "alleging gender and age discrimination, sexual harassment, and violations of US labor laws"

    Also known as the standard Oracle Employee Contract

  8. TheMeerkat

    Or, alternative, she and her friend were vocal about their dislike of the situation and this pissed off their managers. Nothing to do with their gender.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    PIPs are fake

    In my experience, a PIP is only ever implemented if HR wants to make someone redundant without the associated disadvantages and costs. In this case too, a PIP allows spectacular abuse of an employee in the name of "improving performance" whereas the real goal is to harass people so much that they resign themselves and so save the company both the cost of making someone redundant and the problem of not being able to immediately replace the individual with a more agreeable person (read: younger, more pliable or cheaper).

    If you're ever put on a PIP, document the months before and the events themselves, because HR is just trying to get rid of you cheaply. There is no upside to this, so make sure that your departure is more costly to the company than if they had at least been honest.

    The easiest way to fight this in court is to ask for evidence that a PIP has ever been successful..

    1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

      Re: PIPs are fake

      "The easiest way to fight this in court is to ask for evidence that a PIP has ever been successful.."

      Speaking as someone with some legal experience in this area (from the company side), there is pretty much zero chance that this approach would work. Oracle would argue (and the judge would concur) that whether PIPs have been successful in other circumstances is in no way relevant to THIS PIP, for THIS particular situation and THIS person.

      1. steviebuk Silver badge

        Re: PIPs are fake

        But sure you could argue, being in defence of the person fired, have ANY PIPs been successful because if they haven't, is this because PIPS are being abused?

        Although I guess that wouldn't really work. Companies could then just create fake successful PIPs.

  10. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    The bare facts of the matter

    She was the best-performing salesperson and she's the one they sacked.

    That in itself demonstrates how wrong Oracle manglement is about handling situations correctly.

    I just don't get it. If I had a problem with sales, I'd be asking the best performers to coach the other guys, not antagonizing them. That's probably why I am not head of a multi-billion dollar company : I'm not enough of an asshole.

    1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

      Re: The bare facts of the matter

      The article's not completely clear, but it appears she was personally responsible for $20m in revenue, and contributed to a $73m deal. This is the kind of loose change that Oracle execs find in their pockets when looking for parking money, so it's unlikely she would have been kept on sales performance alone.

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        The numbers don't matter. What is significant is that she was the top performer.

        And, as far as loose change is concerned, without people like her Oracle will soon be desperately looking for such loose change just to stay out of the red.

  11. Tel
    Big Brother

    All added to the book of "Why I wouldn't touch Oracle with somebody else's bargepole."

    Strangely, the book entitled "Why I would touch Oracle with my bargepole" is totally empty.

    I wonder why.

  12. nichomach

    Oracle in...

    "...are bastards" shocker. Who knew? *spoiler alert* Everyone. Everyone knew.

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