rights of women and minorities
Women’s march: Crowds outside the National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, London. Picture: Nicola Harvey

The US government has launched a number of legal actions against companies which it contracts to supply various services. 

In one lawsuit filed against computer giant Oracle, the US Department of Labour says the company basically has a racist recruitment policy, or as The Register put it, “for screwing over Asian, black, and women staff”.

eWeek reported that the DoL said Oracle “has a systemic practice of paying Caucasian male workers more than their counterparts in the same job title, which led to pay discrimination against female, African American and Asian employees”.

Oracle has denied the allegations, and points out on its website that of its total global staff of 136,000, many are from minority ethic groups and are women. The company lists some of its minority and women employee numbers in the US workforce:

  • 37 per cent minority employees;
  • 34 per cent minority managers;
  • 29 women employees; and
  • 25 per cent women managers.

But the DoL seems to be on a legal action binge at the moment, having also accused JPMorgan of similar employment practices to Oracle – that is, discriminatory.

The DoL claims JPMorgan had paid “at least 93 females … less than comparable men employed in these same positions”.

The DoL adds that this compensation disparity remained after adjusting for differences in legitimate compensation-determining factors. The DoL’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs also found that JPMorgan failed to evaluate the compensation systems applicable to these employees.

The DoL’s acting compliance director, Thomas Dowd, says: “JPMorgan is required to comply with anti-discrimination laws that apply to federal contractors. We filed this lawsuit to enforce those requirements.”

Meanwhile, barely a week after taking office, US President Donald Trump – who himself is the subject of a lawsuit – has signed a number of presidential orders which will have far-reaching consequences in a number of areas – business and labour included.

For one thing, Trump has ordered a hiring freeze on government departments and told them not to tweet so much, especially if they work in the sciences. And not known for having “green” credentials, Trump has also announced a stop to the Environmental Protection Agency awarding contracts and grants.

However, on the plus side perhaps for some, there are indications that the Trump administration will be more supportive of a broader range of businesses being given chances to win government contracts in information technology and other areas.

But that may not be enough to placate the millions of women globally who protested against Trump and his policies. Demonstrations took place around the world, including London and Washington, where more than half a million women showed up.

In total, the number of women who protested in the cities of Washington, Los Angeles, New York and Chicago numbered around 2 million. In London, the number was 100,000.

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