Oracle accused of underpaying its female staff by $13,000 per year

Red plane flying in the sky with Oracle written on it

Oracle has been systematically underpaying its female workers by an average of $13,000 per year, a lawsuit has claimed.

A new motion in a class-action suit claims that women who worked for the IT giant made 3.8% less than their male counterparts in terms of their base pay, 13% less in bonuses and 33% less in stock options.

According to the motion, discrepancies with an "extraordinarily high degree of statistical significance" were found in Oracle's payroll data, and were not based on "valid job-related reasons" like performance or experience.

An analysis conducted on behalf of the plaintiffs indicated that women were paid less than men even in cases where they had been working for the same length of time and achieving the same level of performance.

The class-action suit hopes to represent more than 4,200 women who have been working for Oracle since 2013 in roles including support, IT and product development. Six plaintiffs are specifically named in the suit, all of whom have now left Oracle.

This is not the first time that Oracle has been accused of gender discrimination; the company was also sued by the US Department of Labor in 2017, over claims that it disproportionately overpaid white men while underpaying female, black and Asian staff with the same job titles.

Oracle has similar gender pay issues in the UK, according to the company's annual gender pay gap report. The report, which all companies operating in the UK are required by law to publish, details the average difference in salaries between men and women within the company. Oracle's latest report showed that in the UK, male employees were paid an average of 20% more than women, with a 38% average gap in bonuses.

The company claims that this is due to the fact that around a quarter of its workforce is female, which leads to more men in high-paying roles and skews the overall average. The company also said that it is taking steps to address its gender imbalances such as implementing unconscious bias training for all managers and emphasising the importance of diversity to hiring managers.

Despite these assurances, however, the latest motion in the case alleges that Oracle was aware of issues surrounding wage discrimination but has done nothing to correct them. "Women are getting paid less across the board," said Jim Finberg, the attorney representing the claimants. "These are some of the strongest statistics I've ever seen - amazingly powerful numbers."

Finberg is something of an expert, having brought a very similar suit against Google in 2017 which alleged that the Silicon Valley firm was also underpaying female staff, as well as denying them promotions. The suit is still ongoing.

When approached, an Oracle representative declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Adam Shepherd

Adam Shepherd has been a technology journalist since 2015, covering everything from cloud storage and security, to smartphones and servers. Over the course of his career, he’s seen the spread of 5G, the growing ubiquity of wireless devices, and the start of the connected revolution. He’s also been to more trade shows and technology conferences than he cares to count.

Adam is an avid follower of the latest hardware innovations, and he is never happier than when tinkering with complex network configurations, or exploring a new Linux distro. He was also previously a co-host on the ITPro Podcast, where he was often found ranting about his love of strange gadgets, his disdain for Windows Mobile, and everything in between.

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