US sues Oracle for discrimination in pay and hiring practice

This June 18, 2012, file photo shows Oracle headquarters in Redwood City, California. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File)
Updated 19 January 2017

US sues Oracle for discrimination in pay and hiring practice

SAN FRANCISCO, United States: The US Labor Department on Wednesday sued business software giant Oracle alleging “systemic” discrimination in pay against female, African American and Asian employees.
The administrative lawsuit also challenges Oracle’s practice of “favoring Asian workers in its recruiting and hiring practices” for key technical jobs, saying it discriminates against non-Asian applicants.
The lawsuit is the result of an investigation begun in 2014 by the US agency’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, and could result in the loss of “millions” in US government contracts for Oracle, according to statement.
“Federal contractors are required to comply with all applicable anti-discrimination laws,” said Thomas Dowd, acting director of the office.
“We filed this lawsuit to enforce those requirements.”
The agency said Oracle refused to comply with the “routine requests for employment data and records,” and that officials “attempted for almost a year to resolve Oracle’s alleged discrimination violations before filing the suit.”
California-based Oracle, one of the largest firms in Silicon Valley, said in a statement that the complaint “is politically motivated, based on false allegations, and wholly without merit.”
The company said: “Oracle values diversity and inclusion, and is a responsible equal opportunity and affirmative action employer. Our hiring and pay decisions are non-discriminatory and made based on legitimate business factors including experience and merit.”
The nine-page complaint said Oracle paid white makes more than their counterparts in the same job title.
It also said Oracle, which has some 45,000 employees in the United States and is known for its cloud computing and business applications, used a recruiting and hiring process which favored Asians, especially Indians, resulting in discrimination against African-American, Hispanic and white job applicants.


Somalia names new PM, announces plan for national elections

Members of new parliament look on after they were sworn-in at Adan Adde airport in Mogadishu. Somalia is likely to hold elections next year. (AFP/File)
Updated 19 September 2020

Somalia names new PM, announces plan for national elections

  • The UN had described the pursuit of one-person, one-vote elections as a “historic milestone” on Somalia’s path to full democratization and peace after decades of war and violent instability in the Horn of Africa nation

MOGADISHU: Somalia’s President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed has appointed a new prime minister hours after brokering an agreement with regional leaders for elections next year that abandons a promised one-person, one-vote model.
Mohamed’s office announced late Thursday the appointment of Mohamed Hussein Roble, a Swedish-trained civil engineer and political neophyte, and “wished him to take duties and tasks ahead with diligence.”
He fills a vacancy left when former Premier Hassan Ali Khaire was removed by parliament in July for failing to pave the way for fully democratic elections due before February 2021.
The foreign-backed government in Mogadishu has been in drawn-out negotiations with Somalia’s federal states over how to proceed with parliamentary and presidential elections.
However, the process has been held up by political infighting between the president — better known by his nickname Farmajo — and the country’s regional leaders.
Somalia had set itself the goal of holding its first fully democratic, one-man, one-vote election since 1969 — as opposed to a complex system in which special delegates pick lawmakers who then vote for the president.
But an agreement reached between the president, five regional leaders and the mayor of Mogadishu has conceded that such a vote would be impossible within the time frame remaining before Somalia’s parliament expires in November, and Farmajo’s term ends in February.
In an official communique, the negotiators said delegates from Somalia’s myriad clans would elect the 275 MPs of the lower house, which in turn chooses the president.

SPEEDREAD

The foreign-backed government in Mogadishu has been in drawn-out negotiations with Somalia’s federal states over how to proceed with parliamentary and presidential elections.

While the process mirrors the last election held in 2017, it will go a bit further in terms of inclusivity, with 27,775 delegates voting — almost twice as many as last time.
No timeline was given, and it remains unclear what role the country’s independent election commission will play, with the federal and state governments to appoint their own agencies to oversee their respective polls.
The plan still needs to be approved by Somalia’s parliament.
The UN had described the pursuit of one-person, one-vote elections as a “historic milestone” on Somalia’s path to full democratization and peace after decades of war and violent instability in the Horn of Africa nation.
But observers had warned that such a goal was looking increasingly unlikely due to tensions with the states, technical aspects such as voter registration, and security challenges posed by the Al-Shabab militant group.
The fragile central government, chaired by Farmajo, controls only a part of Somali territory and relies on an international peacekeeping force to confront a violent insurgency from Al-Shabab in the countryside.
Mogadishu had been criticized by observers for engaging in political feuds with federal states to gain control in the election process, rather than focusing on the fight against the militants.