back to article Oracle robbed just about anyone who wasn't a pasty white male of $400m, says Uncle Sam

The US Department of Labor has doubled-down on Oracle, accusing the IT giant of “stark patterns of discrimination” against women and minorities since 2013. The department's officials hope to cancel the IT giant's lucrative government contracts if allegations that folks have been cheated out of hundreds of millions of dollars …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    That's the price ..

    .. for not staying at Trump hotel, guys.

    Easy to fix, but now you'll have to rent a whole floor and bend your knee in public praise to Trump, and you better do it quick because I don't think it'll last that much longer - contributing to a legal defence fund doesn't quite have the same ring to it..

  2. raving angry loony
    Mushroom

    Entire tech industry

    How is Oracle different from most of the tech industry, especially in North America? Add in age discrimination and all the charges describe every high-tech firm I've ever dealt with in the last 30 years in North America. High tech is a shit-show when it comes to discrimination.

    1. deive

      Re: Entire tech industry

      Oracle always seems to stand head and shoulders above most the other tech companies in evil ratings. IBM are close behind.

      Don't worry though as the "new" kids are all getting bigger they are catching up on that front too!

    2. sisk Silver badge

      Re: Entire tech industry

      Not all companies in the tech industry discriminate. In fact not even all the statistics here show discrimination. For instance, if 24% of their techs are women, given that there is a major shortage of women who have CS degrees that indicates to me that they actually are just as likely to hire women as men. Seriously, for any technical position you can safely assume at least 75% of the qualified applicants will be male. Likewise, if you discount the 90% of new hires who were on work visas then the 6 African Americans indicates 12% of the 50 Americans they hired. Given that African Americans represent about 13% of all Americans that is right in line with what should be expected. Hispanics, at 10% of the Americans they hired, are a little under-represented (they represent 16% of the general population), so there may be a case to be made there, or it may be a case of a distorted applicant pool. You can't tell from the numbers here.

      As I keep telling people: you cannot just look at the demographics of a company and assume discrimination. You also have to look at their applicant pool and the qualifications within that pool, especially in the tech sector. We're FINALLY getting more female and minority CS grads, but it's going to take a long time before there are enough of them for our field to match the demographics of the general population.

      Put another way: something like 90% of elementary school teachers are women, but no one in their right mind would accuse elementary schools of discriminating against men based on that number because we all know that there simply aren't many men who choose to go into elementary education. Same deal with the tech sector and women.

      Now as for the pay issue....yeah, no excuse there. That's flat out discrimination, but Oracle IS alone there, at least from what I've seen. Granted I'm nowhere near Silicon Valley, but still, I've been in this field for 15 years and have never seen that sort of thing in any firm I've dealt with. And the absurd number of immigrant visas? That's major abuse of that program, enough to cancel their government contracts all on its own in my opinion. I don't believe it's ever right to turn away local applicants in favor of giving someone a work visa. Those should be reserved for when you can't get locals to do the job at market value.

      1. VikiAi Bronze badge
        Unhappy

        Re: Entire tech industry

        I do wonder why people on a work visa like that are not legally required to be paid the same as a local would be paid for the same work. General equal-pay-for-equal-work fairness aside, there would then be no incentive to use work visas for anything except filling locally unfillable roles.

        Back in the real world, I imagine some sort of political contributions system would have a lot to do with the status quo.

    3. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Re: Entire tech industry

      Leisure Suit Larry and His Minions got in trouble because they thought no one could catch them at their sleazy games. You behavior badly enough and you will get various people sniffing around as usually there is foul odor emanating. The way customers have been treated for years should give an idea of the company's ethical compass; treat'em bad probably treat employees as bad or worse.

      What is interesting is one of the punishments is cancellation of feral contracts and being locked out of future ones if the ferals win this. Could be interesting with the JEDI suit.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oracle are cunts

    That is all.

    1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

      Re: Oracle are cunts

      Also, water is wet etc.

      1. Bob the Skutter

        Re: Oracle are cunts

        Actually water isn't wet. It's what makes things wet.

        1. Joeyjoejojrshabado

          Re: Water is/isn't wet

          No, water is wet

          1. ds6 Bronze badge
            Megaphone

            Re: Water is/isn't wet

            Let's not do this.

  4. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge
    Trollface

    Would any other name....

    With a name like Oracle you'd've thought they would have seen it coming....

    1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

      Re: Would any other name....

      Oracles tended only to be understood when something happened. Or to put it more correctly, they came up with vague stuff and credulous people fitted it to later events.

      The taking the credit for things they don't deserve is very definitely part of the Oracle business model though.

  5. Edward Clarke

    Larry must be pissed...

    What? You forgot to rob the pasty white guys too???

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'd wager the majority of The Register's audience are also "pasty white males".

    1. Korev Silver badge
      Coat

      I'm Cornish and love a good pasty

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I resemble that comment ... always lamented Irish blood and living in the desert ...

      However there was a time over here when an Irish was left to die in a ditch, while a Black was saved because they was worth something to the superior white males ...

    3. VikiAi Bronze badge
      Facepalm

      I'm not convinced that being a pasty white male automatically makes you in favor of or responsible for discrimination, even that done in favor of pasty white males!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        People always seem to forget there are a lot of types of pasty white males all over the world. Being "white" (or as the article puts it White) isn't much of a quantifier. On that topic neither is "black." "Asian" suffers a little from this problem (eg. Vietnamese people don't have much immediately in common with the Japanese besides likely having the same distant lineage) but at least it has a distinct geographic separation, whereas "white" or "black" could mean anyone, anywhere, esp. in international use.

        In the context of diversity quotas, having too many white people employed is like saying a shopping market is bad for having too many tomatos, even though there are thousands or even potentially tens of thousands of tomato cultivars, many with very distinct differences. It's just too broad. How many of those white people are foreign or are the direct descendant of an immigrant? I'll concede it's likely not a huge number, but my point still stands. We need to quantify "white" before we can start calling them as a group over-represented, when some of them might be German, or Irish, or British.

        Could it be favoritism or racism? Sure, of course it could be. But assuming it is based on stats alone is part of the reason why race related topics have become such huge talking points lately, even if it is completely unrelated and more the result of the pool of applicanta being skewed toward one type of people. If that is the case, the institution itself needs fixed, and the less represented groups need to be encouraged to enter the field instead. And if there still isn't a "fair" ratio of representation even after that, what else can be done, truly?

        AC because people surely will assume I'm being racist, somehow. (race card: I am African American.)

  7. John Savard Silver badge

    Interesting

    While such hiring practices are obviously a temptation to the entire industry, I would have thought most companies pay a bit more attention to potential legal consequences.

    Of course, outsourcing as much software development as possible to India, on the other hand, is perfectly legal. That's an area where free-market decision making would still rule. But if one wishes to do elements of software development in-house, for better control and security, one does have to pay the price of doing it legally.

    1. VikiAi Bronze badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Interesting

      One would kind of hope companies are hiring the best person for the job irrespective of non-work-related attributes, and paying them fairly for the work they do so they don't then lose their human asset!

      Shareholders in public companies obviously aren't as attached to their potential dividends as they probably should be, to keep present management around in the face of such obvious second-rate hiring practices!

  8. David Hall 1

    It's done wonders for the local food though

    As someone who works in Redwood City; I can say that this is probably true - but it's caused the springing up of some excellent Indian restaurants - which is invaluable for us Brits abroad!

  9. disgruntled yank Silver badge

    Hope

    "The department's officials hope to cancel the IT giant's lucrative government contracts if allegations that folks have been cheated out of hundreds of millions of dollars are proven true."

    So: everything now in Oracle apps or just DBs gets ported. This will require how many staff years of effort? And how many H1Bs will be there providing those hours? Will their diversity be minutely scrutinized, or will inequity join firing among the sins that Uncle Sam prefers to outsource?

    Please understand that I am not a fan of Larry Ellison's. But imagining that the US government can quit Oracle cold turkey is just silly.

  10. devTrail

    Bad news for the US

    You may like or not Oracle, but this is not a good news for the US. A law that becomes so open to interpretation that public officials can decide to apply when it suits them is the moment when bureaucrats become too powerful and corruption takes a leg. Coming form a country doing poorly in the Transparency International ranking I know what I'm talking about.

    The funny thing is that part of the accusation is quite plausible and part of it seems really ridiculous. I have no difficulty to believe the part referring to the cheap Asians, but the snub of the minorities can be easily explained with the unequal schooling system in the US and the lack of qualified people.

    On the other hand what is a common practice has benefited so much the balance sheets of big and small corporations that I doubt this story will change anything. If condemned Oracle will take a hit and go on with business as usual and all the other corporation won't even take notice.

    1. eldakka Silver badge

      Re: Bad news for the US

      That's why we have courts.

      The public officials 'decision making' is limited to deciding whether to prosecute a case before the courts or not. The courts then determine innocence or guilt.

      Since courts can't prosecute anyone on their own, a judge can't decide to charge someone for a crime, it requires someone outside the court system i.e. public officials, to initiate a proceeding before the courts.

      1. devTrail

        Re: Bad news for the US

        I can't understand what you are talking about. The preference for cheap Asian young graduates can be easily proved, but why did they choose to prosecute Oracle and not all the other corporations? The fact that something is common practice is not an excuse in front of the law. So whatever will be the decision of the court in this case it won't sanction decades of inaction.

  11. I3N
    Meh

    Be surprised if this goes very far ....

    Any time soon ...

    Ellison gave $M's to the Republican party ...

    Bet even the judge is looking over his shoulder these days ....

    1. Nunyabiznes

      Re: Be surprised if this goes very far ....

      And to the DNC. It pays to pay off both sides. Most big companies understand that.

      1. I3N
        Coat

        Re: Be surprised if this goes very far ....

        In politics, thumb screws are only applied to the winners ...

    2. I3N
      Facepalm

      Re: Be surprised if this goes very far ....

      And right on schedule ...

      https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-labor-age-bias/age-bias-law-does-not-cover-job-applicants-u-s-appeals-court-idUSKCN1PI02N

      Trump appointed lawyer you say ...

      1. Nunyabiznes

        Re: Be surprised if this goes very far ....

        It was an 8-4 opinion, with the majority opinion written by, yes, a Pres. Trump appointee.

        I didn't bother looking up all of the Panel's bios, but I am fairly confident that not all 8 majority-consenting judges were appointed by Pres. Trump.

        Your world view would be improved if you just set aside some bias, much like I counseled many friends to do when Pres. Obama was in office.

  12. Pat 4

    No discrimination...

    Oracle does not discriminate, they rob absolutely everyone, including their customers.

  13. hellwig Silver badge

    Russia, India, Brazil, China, too much cheap labor

    I worked at an engineering company here in the US that staffed it's workforce with about 80% offsite foreign labor and few dozen onsite Visa workers (hundreds of people for this particular project/product). There were a few of us US citizens left to oversee the work (I'm sure that was a contractual requirement with the various customers).

    To facilitate the sheer number of different places that the work was distributed, each foreign site would send a few people over to the US to help with the interactions (language barriers, etc..). Of course, the company didn't get appropriate work Visa's for these people, so they were technically here on a travel Visa, and therefore couldn't do anything actually considered work. No idea what was in it for the people who made the trip? A free trans-continental flight and hotel room? Not sure this was entirely above-board, but I can only imagine the bonus some higher-ups must have gotten for doing the work with foreign nationals working at a fraction of the cost and who would apparently do anything, including travel to the US without getting paid.

    At that particular job, I was actually working as a contractor for a US-based Indian contracting firm. Not sure how all that actually worked out (the whole ordeal was just stressing), but I get the feeling I was one of the few US citizens they employed in the US. I do know the few contractors actually there on a work Visa (i.e. legally) made far less than I did.

    This is one of the few things I agree about with the current president, too many work Visas. I'm fairly sure the quality of higher education in the U.S. is better than in India. That whole excuse about not having enough domestic talent never sat well with me. If nothing else, the cost of the Visa's should be applied to scholarship funds to educate more Americans to replace the apparent glut in the talent pool

    </rant>

  14. Sirius Lee

    Pasty white, really?

    In an article about equality is it really OK to lampoon white males using the perjorative 'pasty white'? Would you get away with 'coal black' or 'mud brown'? Of course not. Pack it in.

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