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Ex-Oracle manager claims he was fired for asking to give Indian staff equal pay

Lawsuit alleges discrimination against foreign workers

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A former Oracle sales manager has filed a lawsuit against the database giant alleging that he was fired after refusing to offer an Indian job candidate a lower salary than would ordinarily be extended to candidates from the US.

In a filing with the US District Court in Northern California, Ian Spandow claimed he lost his job because he wanted to offer a job prospect higher pay than $50,000 per year, which his supervisor allegedly described as "good money for an Indian."

The suit accuses Oracle of discriminatory hiring policies that mandate paying employees from India salaries "substantially below those of similarly situated Caucasian employees."

In the specific case in question, Spandow claims he met resistance when he proposed transferring an employee from one of Oracle's offices in India to a new position in California.

Spandow alleges that his supervisors told him to offer the Indian candidate a "substantially lower" salary based on his country of origin, despite having authorized Spandow to make higher offers for two identical positions just weeks prior.

The suit quotes an email to Oracle VP Ryan Kelley in which Spandow describes the Indian candidate – whose name has been withheld for privacy reasons – as a seven-year Oracle professional who had previously worked on a team managed by Spandow.

"He knows everyone on the team, and will of course, know what they earn within days of arriving," Spandow said he wrote in his email. "Moreover, he has 6+ years Oracle experience ahead of them."

The filing alleges that Spandow was rebuked for his complaint, and was told to offer the candidate a salary of $50,000, which Spandow described in his email as "nothing short of discriminating against him based on his ethnicity/country of origin."

Spandow further claims that shortly after his complaints to his supervisors, he was summoned to a meeting with Oracle's human resources department in which a HR manager told him that offering Indian employees lower salaries was fair and consistent with company policies.

When Spandow again submitted a request to offer the candidate a higher salary, within weeks he found himself out of a job without any prior warning or disciplinary actions, the lawsuit claims.

Spandow's suit argues that not only are Oracle's alleged hiring practices in violation of the US Civil Rights Act of 1964, but that his own summary termination without notice was itself unlawful under the same statute – which makes retaliation against employees for opposing discriminatory hiring practices illegal.

At the time of his firing, Spandow, a native of Ireland, was working at Oracle in California under an L-1 Visa, a non-immigrant visa that allows international companies with offices in both the US and abroad to employ foreign workers in the US for a limited time. The filing further alleges that Spandow, who is now a director of training and development at NoSQL database vendor MongoDB, was discriminated against because of his Irish origin.

Per his filing last week, Spandow seeks unspecified monetary damages based on his continued "humiliation, embarrassment, mental anguish and severe emotional and physical distress." He has also asked for punitive damages and an injunction ordering Oracle to change its hiring practices. He would also like Oracle to pay for his attorney's fees and court costs related to the lawsuit, in addition to "such other and further relief as the court deems appropriate."

Oracle did not immediately respond to The Register's request for comment on the matter. ®

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