back to article Oracle faces claims of unequal pay from 4,000+ women after judge upgrades gender gap lawsuit to class action

A lawsuit filed against Oracle on behalf of six women seeking to be paid as much as their male colleagues has been certified as a class action – a legal milestone that will allow thousands of women a chance to have their gender discrimination claims heard. In 2017, Xian Murray, Sophy Wang, and Rong Jewett, who had been …

  1. HildyJ Silver badge
    Flame

    Counterclaim?

    "In November, Oracle filed a counterclaim against the government, insisting the Uncle Sam didn't have the authority to block contracts or challenge Oracle's payment practices."

    Really?

    First, The Equal Pay Act of 1963 (as amended to include salaried professionals) administered by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

    Plus the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs which is charged with monitoring federal contractors.

    Another Oracle nuisance suit.

    1. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Re: Counterclaim?

      The Minions are picking a fight with someone who has deeper pockets and spend them into oblivion.

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Counterclaim?

      "The Equal Pay Act of 1963"

      You'd think they would KNOW BETTER than to (allegedly) VIOLATE that...

  2. BebopWeBop Silver badge
    Unhappy

    And while I hope that if it can be demonstrated, those discriminated against will get compensation, I feer that the only winners will be the lawyers....

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      The settlement, when in or out of court, IMHO should always be two amounts.

      A) the amount required to compensate the victims fairly based on their losses (and possible additional for stress etc) .

      B) the cost, ie the lawyers fees.

      It annoys me every time we see a class action result in multi-million dollar settlements where the victims don't even get their loses covered because the lawyers take so much. No one should be agreeing to a settlement like that, especially if it's an out of court settlement.

      1. Aitor 1 Silver badge

        Civil fine

        Class actions these days are essentially civil fines, you sue them, they will settle, but it will be expensive.

        So they want to avoid the whole thing, it is a deterrent.

  3. Julz Silver badge

    The

    Oracle I know, would be happier still if it didn't have to pay it's staff at all, let alone with equality.

    1. Paul Herber Silver badge

      Re: The

      I would happily sell my house and all its contents in order to pay Oracle for the privilege of working for them!

  4. davenewman

    To get CEOs to take discrimination seriously, we need a law that has personal consequences - such as a forced sex change operation for CEOs who discriminate against women.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Does that include female CEOs running companies where this discrimination is also going on?

      It's not all "sisters together". It's sociopaths of whatever gender looking for any possible way of reducing costs.

      I know discrimination happens, but I can't put my mind in the position of someone who does it. If some one is capable of and doing a job at a particular skill level, pay them the going rate. Why should it matter whether their dangly bits are at chest or groin height or what colour the skin is?

    2. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Personally I would like to see Leisure Suit Larry at the end of a rope as a warning to others.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        no need to warn others

        swinging Larry gets new definition

    3. This post has been deleted by its author

  5. onemark03

    Oracle's Gender-Gap Lawsuit

    Nah, just personal financial liability (not covered by D&O insurance) and some serious jail time.

    Come to think of it, that would cut out a shit-load of managerial greed generally.

  6. SuperGeek

    "Uber in 2018 "payed" $10m to settle pay discrimination claims brought by 400 female and minority engineers."

    Have we got 10 year olds writing here now? It's "paid", dammit. Unprofessional journalism at its finest. Look up the words "proofread", and "spellcheck", you'll learn something. Is mummy too busy doing ironing to help? :)

    1. Mark192 Bronze badge

      Give it a rest

      I rarely see spelling/grammar errors here and the quality of the actual journalism is leagues ahead of most other sources of news.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @SuperGeek

      Says the poster who needs to look up the correct use of commas...

      1. AlanS
        Headmaster

        Re: @SuperGeek

        SuperGeek has used English, where the comma is inside the "" only if the thing quoted has a comma.

      2. Spanners Silver badge
        Headmaster

        Re: @SuperGeek

        the correct use of commas

        Were you referring to the correct use or the US "acceptable error" style?

        Whilst input from anywhere seems to be welcome, people from the USA may not be the best source of spelling and grammar corrections.

    3. Steve K Silver badge

      Tips & Corrections link

      There is a tips & corrections link at the bottom of each article - no need for grammatic/spelling appendage-waving....

  7. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "we look forward to trying those in court"

    No you don't. The last thing Oracle wants is to have its internal practices laid bare in a court and take the risk of having a court decision make it change.

    IBM was going to fight tooth and nail in much the same case of discrimination and it folded like a wet mop and settled to avoid a definitive decision.

    I think that, if Oracle can, it will settle, because that will allow it to continue its practices which it probably believes will cost it less in the long run. The only question in my mind is : can it settle now that the case has class action status ? I don't know the rules on that.

  8. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Quit Then

      but I've worked in places where 2 people are referred to as "senior software developer" in their title and one of them ... does some low grade, low risk systems, puts in a 9 to 5 day, ... while another "senior software developer" ... who knows the critical systems and is an all-round technical guru."

      As they have the same job title and I would assume job description then they should legally be paid the same.

      If the "all-round technical guru" doesn't like this, then there is nothing stopping them from talking to management and getting a new job title and description with an appropriate level of remuneration. But from my experience the "all-round technical guru" has zero interpersonal and negotiation skills and little reason to be out of the office at 5.......

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Quit Then

        "As they have the same job title and I would assume job description then they should legally be paid the same."

        Job descriptions are always vague, unless you're in some worthless government bureaucracy.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Quit Then

      >>There are no women on the on-call rota. Off-the-clock skunkwork projects using Angular or AI? That won't be a woman either.

      But they'll be plenty of men with enough time on their hands to post douchey misogyny in online comments sections.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Quit Then

        You want to call me a misogynist? Tell me where I'm wrong. Name me a couple of software tech companies which include a woman as a founder. Name me an open source project led or founded by a woman.

        I've worked with men and women and I have nothing against women. They're generally competent software developers. But they rarely push themselves at it.

        1. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: Quit Then

          > Name me a couple of software tech companies which include a woman as a founder.

          F-international

          Canva

          Lifehacker

          ...

          i suggest you take the blinkers off and do a little googling and get out more...

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Quit Then

          >>I've worked with men and women and I have nothing against women. They're generally competent software developers. But they rarely push themselves at it.

          I'm guessing you don't really interact with many women?

          >>

          >>You want to call me a misogynist?

          Sure. Why not.

        3. XSV1
          Stop

          Re: Quit Then

          > But they rarely push themselves at it.

          I actually can't believe that you wrote any of that, especially that last bit. I am staggered.

          Some of the women engineers (electrical) that I have worked with are the finest programmers that I have had the privilege to work with. For the record, I am male.

        4. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

          Re: Quit Then

          Keep digging. With any chance your global opposite will be the bottom of the Mariana trench.

        5. bombastic bob Silver badge
          Meh

          Re: Quit Then

          "Name me an open source project led or founded by a woman."

          I know one lady personally (well, on IRC at least) who has her own open source stuff going on, but it's really niche stuff that she's really the only one interested in it... [I've got two projects like that as well, so there ya go]

          If you're talking major projects, I'm sure there are some that women either started or are major contributors to. But sex-related statistical characteristics and preferences are NOT the kinds of things that indicate how much you should be paid to do a particular job.

        6. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @"You want to call me a misogynist?"

          I do not know the OP well enough to call them anything, however it is clear to me that others here are more than willing to revile anyone who reveals that their work experience does not support the political nonsense of external pressure groups.

          Personally, I am all for equality and by this I mean everyone being treated exactly the same without any bias whatsoever. Sadly I am of the minority that that have been increasingly seen as over-represented and thus open to be abused so as to "improve" the lot of those that have political pressure on their side.

          I could recount many occasions repeated over decades where I was not treated equally purely because no one was interested in my "right" to equality. I have worked around incompetents who were retained as employees purely to make quotas who were later "promoted" to position that they were not qualified or competent to hold resulting, on occasions, in the published job specification being dumbed down and all the technical aspects being pushed onto me and even here they were allowed to bungle what little remained of the job without being treated as I would have been were I to fkup on that scale. I was told each time that they needed me where I was and to train and support the typists they typically gave the now non-technical job to whilst continuing to do the two jobs that required expertise.

          I too have seen very few technically competent women in my decades of work, I have seen many that kept their jobs even though they were less able or willing than their male counterparts, does this make me a misogynist too? if it does then I do not care, your slurs mean nothing to me.

          I have, in the past, worked with technically excellent women who worked at my level and above but they represented at most a single figure percentage of their sex employed in the field, pehaps my case and that of OP are exceptional or perhaps the other technically capable women worked in other fields perhaps where only excellence was accepted for employment. I do not know why there are less women willing to become technicall excellent in my subject but perhaps it is because they do not have to inorder to keep their getting paid.

          What I can say, to the haters posting here, is that just because reality does not support your bias it does not make the facts untrue and where you brand people for experiencing realities counter to your dream this marks you as the real blinkered bigot.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: @"You want to call me a misogynist?"

            Maybe your perceived unfair treatment was down to your denigration of women as expressed in your post here?

            Food for thought.

            If you felt so aggrieved you could have taken Misogynist OP's advice and "Quit then" ?

            My team currently has a 60:40 split and I didn't have any pressure to fill any quota during a recent round of hiring.

            In my many years of experience the douchie behaviour of men was far more apparent than this supposed quota filling you speak of.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: @"You want to call me a misogynist?"

              @ "Maybe your perceived unfair treatment was down to your denigration of women as expressed in your post here?"

              Classic example of bigoted nonsense, bloke complains that things are unequal and you say it is his fault without any evidence and without acceptance that people's work experience can be different to yours. That it was always management emploment policy failure rather than the woman lying at the interview that caused the problem doesnt change the fact the the wrong person was employed just bcause they were the right sex

              As to quiting, yes I did and unsurprisingly the company was out of business or complete managament layoff within a year, as I said it happened more than once and no I didn't complain for long once it became clear that they weren't interested, I just moved on. In my cases the management were more to blaim than the individual they hired to fill the quota.

              @"In my many years of experience the douchie behaviour of men was far more apparent than this supposed quota filling you speak of." In my experience (decades not just years) the addition of women to engineering environments actualy brought the bitchy behaviour you speak of, before this workers who had a problem with each other took it outside and settled it mano y mano and once it was over it was not mentioned again. Fistycuffs at work hasn't been acceptable at work since HR became the position filler but it must be said "sorting it outside" limited the politics and bitching that have since become the accepted norm in many areas that have been targetted by the pressure groups.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: @"You want to call me a misogynist?"

                Oh dear. Sounds terrible.

                Glad I never had to worked in such an environment.

                "Sorting it outside" You gangsta, you!

                I bet you were a big hit with the lad(ie)s.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: @"You want to call me a misogynist?"

                  @"Oh dear. Sounds terrible.", it was the prevailing environment i.e. acceptance of violence within society. This was a time when there was still corporeal punishment in schools so ofc it continued into work.

                  @"Glad I never had to worked in such an environment." well given your following suggestions to the effect that I am a criminal and homosexual then it is proberbly for the best. Like I said, everything used to be "in your face" i.e. upfront and those that could only bitch kept their mouths shut or lost their jobs and or teeth.

                  Not saying that it was anything like perfect but atleast it was consistent for everyone, if you wanted respect you fought for it and then you and your sparring partner went to the pub and no hard feelings afterwards. Compared with the backstabbing and bitching that has replaced it, that can now can go on for years, then it must be said physical lumps are shorter lived and less damaging than emotional/mental ones.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: @"You want to call me a misogynist?"

                    >>Like I said, everything used to be "in your face" i.e. upfront and those that could only bitch kept their mouths shut or lost their jobs and or teeth.

                    I never knew working in IT was so brutal. PTSD levels of violence.

                    One is a product of one's upbringing and environment. So it is not difficult to see why your world view is so lopsided. I feel sorry for you.

                    1. Anonymous Coward
                      Anonymous Coward

                      Re: @"You want to call me a misogynist?"

                      I did say Engineering, IT is the dumbed down version of what used to be an Engineering/Science subject. IT originally being on a par with "this is a keyboard and this is a mouse, the big box with the flashing lights is called the CPU"

                      As to the overt violence I presume is was a result of employees who survived the war still living and working in the UK. PTSD at work, it must be said that stress related disability has actually increased during the same period, perhaps these facts are related.

                      Given that I have lived and worked through the change in environments, it gives me sufficient perspective to say what I have said, you can call it lopsided if you like but since your experience is at best only half of what I have then your opinion is expected to be naive.

                      One thing that is never mentioned about pushing both sexes into work is who cares for the children, when I started work the a male's take home wage was calculated based upon qualification, experience and any need to support a family. Now typically both parents have to go to work to obtain the equivalent income that a single breadwinner previously obtained, thus it is no surprise that education has had to be dumbed down now that children have only shared "professional" teachers in a much more chaotic environment than the home.

                      My siblings and I all could read and write fully before we started school since we had what is now call "hothousing" from my Mother i.e. one to one personal education from birth by a caring parent who wanted the best for her children. If you are talking about life accomplishments then doing right by your children should rank far higher than a career not to mention that with both parents now at work then the accumulated knowledge handed down through the generations is also disappearing such that what used to be common behaviour, like investing in your children's education, has now become a buzzword "hothousing". Well done you

    3. cbars Silver badge

      Re: Quit Then

      Hello Anon. Money is not the only factor in deciding whether you want a job. For example: status, satisfaction, the intellectual or physical challenge involved in completing a task can be critical for health.. etc

      Add to that the personal circumstances, those with children dont have the time or I imagine the resilience to continually bounce between jobs - especially if the status quo is that all potential employers pay women less. Your argument is banal. It is unfair to renumerate two people differently for the same work (performed at the same time, for the same employer, in the same geographic location).

      I'm sorry to tell you that firstly I doubt your experience of women in the workplace, and second that even if you have experienced this, it doesnt represent the reality. You have not worked with enough women to be statistically significant. If you dont agree with the scientific method (statistical significance) then you dont sound like a smart cookie, and if you do, then you should consider that you have made a weak argument. The only thing your 30 years prove, is that you've spent 30 years walking around spreading your bias, and have probably unfairly hurt the careers of the women you've interacted with, or at least made their working environment less pleasent.

    4. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: Quit Then

      "if women will take less pay, why wouldn't you pay them less?"

      The reason why laws against this exist is that at one time this was an INDUSTRY-WIDE practice of DELIBERATELY depressing wages for women and minorities. (so 'quit your job and go elsewhere' was NOT an option)

      I suggested in an earlier post that this may actually be a problem inherent to Silicon Valley in general, because it is VERY hard to get away with this kind of discriminatory practice unless EVERYBODY does it. Otherwise, some other company would come along and 'hoover up' all of the women and minority employees and pay them well enough to satisfy them [and then others would have to compete for wages, etc. etc.]. My guess is, like before, Silly Valley companies do NOT want wage wars.

      Going after a big target like Oracle will also SCARE THE CRAP out of every OTHER employer that might try to do the same thing.

      This is not like the case where fewer [or more] women may apply for a position because of some trait that's statistically inherent to men or women. This appears to be a case where equally competent women are paid LESS than their male counterparts, for whatever reason, such that it gives the APPEARANCE of wage discrimination. At the first hint, Oracle should have fixed this, or at least come clean with some open-ness and honesty. (aggregate stats in their favor and/or "sorry we screwed up and are fixing this right now" would be a good response).

      Instead they fight it. And over time, it is looking like Oracle is IN THE WRONG on this one.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Quit Then

        @AC with the deleted post

        You know you're on a hiding to nothing when bombastic bob is calmly talking more sense than yourself.

    5. Steve K Silver badge

      Re: Quit Then

      F@cking hell. The 1970s just called - have you actually worked with/met any women?

      Wait until katrinab gets here - she'll deservedly tear you a new one..

      Your point on role equivalence given role titles is apposite, but gender-irrelevant. There also will be an experience/seniority/performance aspect to it as always BUT there can be no grounds for differential pay purely on a gender (or racial/sexuality) basis.

  9. Grundleberry

    Couldn't have happened to a nicer company.

  10. fredesmite Bronze badge
    WTF?

    It doesn't take any Little Rock Man Scientist to understand ...

    THAT EVERY WOMEN IN AMERICA IS UNDERPAID IN EVERY PROFESSION ( except maybe the oldest profession ).

    The sad and ironic part the majority of REPUBLICAN WOMEN VOTE AND SUPPORT THAT .. THEY ARE BRAIN-WASHED INTO THINKING HAVING A VAGINA THAT POPS OUT A KID MEANS THEY SHOULD EARN LESS .

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