A motion filed in California said attorneys seek to represent more than 4,200 women and alleged that female employees were paid on average $13,000 less per year than men doing similar work. An analysis of payroll data found disparities with an “extraordinarily high degree of statistical significance”, the complaint said.
Women made 3.8 percent less in base salaries on average than men in the same job categories, 13.2 percent less in bonuses, and 33.1 percent less in stock value, it alleges.
The case against Oracle, headquartered in Redwood Shores and providing cloud computing services to companies across the globe, resembles high-profile litigation against Google, which has also faced repeated claims of systematic wage discrimination.
Marilyn Clark, one of the Oracle plaintiffs, told the Guardian: “I just couldn’t believe it. I was angry.”
The complaint alleged that she discovered the wage gap when she saw a pay stub a male colleague had left in a common area. “I felt like I had been punched in the gut.”
Clark, 66, who has since retired from Oracle, said it was particularly painful because she had even trained the male employee, who was making roughly $20,000 more than she was, amounting to a 22 percent higher salary.
Jim Finberg, attorney for the plaintiffs said: “These are some of the strongest statistics I’ve ever seen – amazingly powerful numbers.”
The proposed class includes women who have worked in product development, information technology and support functions since 2013. The huge gaps in base salaries, bonuses and stock value are not justified by any “valid job-related reasons”, the complaint said, noting that the disparities exist even for women and men with the same tenure and performance review score in the same job categories. Women in the same locations and with the same amount of experience also made less than equivalent men, an analysis for the plaintiffs’ found.
Both Oracle and Google have also faced accusations of pay discrimination by the US Department of Labor (DoL), which is responsible for enforcing equal pay laws for companies that have contracts with the federal government. The DoL filed a suit against Oracle in 2017 alleging that the firm had a “systemic practice” of paying white male workers more than their counterparts in the same job titles, leading to pay discrimination against women and black and Asian employees.
Oracle said at the time that the DoL allegations were “without merit” and that its pay decisions were “non-discriminatory and made based on legitimate business factors including experience and merit”.
The class-action complaint, which names six plaintiffs, said some of the women had discovered the pay disparities by chance. Xian Murray, a software engineer, “just happened to be present when her manager complained to other managers that ‘women are paid less in Oracle’”, the complaint said.
The suit further claimed that Oracle was aware of its discriminatory pay and had failed to close the gap even after the US government alleged specific problems.