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Oracle Sued for Gender Pay Gap

By Christopher Coble, Esq. | Last updated on

At this point, it's pretty safe to assume that every tech company, from Google and Twitter to that virtual reality "unicorn" you never heard of, is being sued for gender discrimination. And the claims are all pretty similar: female employees, especially engineers, are paid less than their male counterparts and given fewer opportunities for advancement, all with a little harassment. The names may change, but the song remains the same.

Well, add Oracle to that ever-growing list. Three female ex-engineers are suing the database software giant, claiming they were all paid less than men for "substantially equal or similar work."

The Anti-Discrimination Playbook

The Oracle suit has even more similarities to the one filed against Google. Both were filed by the same San Francisco law firm, Altshuler Berzon LLP, and came on the heels of similar suits from the U.S. Department of Labor. (The Labor Department is also accusing Oracle of racial discrimination.)

"Oracle has discriminated against its female employees by systematically paying them lower wage rates than Oracle pays to male employees performing substantially equal or similar work under similar working conditions," the suit alleges. "Oracle's failure to pay women and men equal wages for performing substantially equal or similar work is not justified by any lawful reason." The suit was filed as a class action, covering all female Oracle employees over the last four years.

Anti-Discrimination Laws

While the DOL lawsuit alleges federal wage violations, the ex-engineers' suit claims Oracle violated the California Equal Pay Act, which states: "An employer shall not pay any of its employees at wage rates less than the rates paid to employees of the opposite sex for substantially similar work, when viewed as a composite of skill, effort, and responsibility, and performed under similar working conditions." The statute also directs that salary history alone cannot "justify any disparity in compensation."

Oracle has yet to comment on the latest lawsuit, but called the government's claims "politically motivated, based on false allegations, and wholly without merit."

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