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U.S. Department of Labor Sues Palantir for Discrimination Against Asian Job Applicants

U.S. Department of Labor Sues Palantir for Discrimination Against Asian Job Applicants

Minami Tamaki LLP helps employees in the technology industry navigate workplace issues and ensure that their legal rights are protected.  We work to address issues of gender, race, and age discrimination in the tech industry, including inequities in the hiring process, pay discrimination, the “glass ceiling,” pregnancy and child-care discrimination, and sexual harassment.

A recent lawsuit filed by the United States Department of Labor (“DOL”) has raised further questions of how the technology industry in Silicon Valley and throughout the San Francisco Bay Area is addressing diversity issues and ensuring fair treatment for their workers.

On September 26, 2016, DOL filed a Complaint against Palantir Technologies, a Palo Alto technology company, alleging systemic discrimination against Asian job applicants.  Palantir provides software and data analytics services under federal contract to the U.S. Department of Justice’s Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Special Operations Command and the U.S. Department of the Army.

DOL alleges that Palantir violated Executive Order 11246 by using a hiring process and selection procedures that routinely eliminated Asian applicants for software engineering positions on the basis of their race.  DOL alleges that Asian applicants were eliminated in the resume screen and telephone interview phases, and that Palantir hired a majority of applicants through a discriminatory employee referral program.

The DOL Complaint includes detailed allegations that Palantir discriminated against Asian candidates with regard to specific job openings.  DOL cites one example of a software engineer position where 85% of over 1,000 applicants were Asian, which resulted in Palantir hiring 14 non-Asian individuals and 11 Asians.   DOL states that “[t]he likelihood that this result occurred according to chance is approximately one in 3.4 million.” In another position where Asian applicants made up 73% of qualified candidates, the company hired 17 non-Asian applicants and only four Asian applicants.  DOL states that the likelihood that this result was random is approximately one in a billion.

The lawsuit is the result of a compliance review by DOL’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs.  “Federal contractors have an obligation to ensure that their hiring practices and policies are free of all forms of discrimination,” said Patricia A. Shiu, Director of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs.  “Our nation’s taxpayers deserve to know that companies employed with public funds are providing equal opportunity for job seekers.”

The lawsuit seeks lost wages, retroactive seniority and other lost benefits, interest, and an injunction against Palantir’s alleged discriminatory hiring policies and practices.

Palantir has denied the allegations in DOL’s lawsuit.

We welcome the opportunity to discuss your workplace issues with you.  You may contact us at 415.788.9000 or via this form.

Pro Bono Client Spotlight: AnonyMouse

Partner Don Tamaki and Associate Phil Zackler of Minami Tamaki LLP’s Corporate & Nonprofit Counseling Group recently assisted AnonyMouse with its web privacy and user policies.

AnonyMouse is a new website that seeks to revolutionize the way people seek anonymous help with an initial focus on the LGBT community and aspirations to expand to other demographics to assist in other causes.

Aaron Moy, one of the co-founders of AnonyMouse, approached Don for assistance. “I’ve known Don for many years through our church,” said Aaron. “I shared with him what I was working on and asked him if he could help.”

Aaron and his team were launching AnonyMouse on a shoestring budget, but did not want to cut corners on critical website policies related to user and privacy agreements.

Don, together with Associate Phil Zackler and legal assistant Atticus Lee, set out to help Aaron with this innovative site.

“Don and his team provided three essential things for us. The first was the user agreement for the mentors, to define and document their roles in the service. The second was the agreement for users and the terms of service. The last item was the privacy policy, which describes the site’s use of information, our intentions, security, and other important legal terms.”

“It was great working with Don, Phil, and Atticus. We couldn’t have launched the site without their help. We’ve been working on AnonyMouse for more than two years and we absolutely needed the site’s legal policies in place, or our launch wouldn’t have happened.”

Clients of Minami Tamaki count on Don, Phil, and Minami Tamaki’s Corporate & Nonprofit Counseling practice group to provide practical, effective counseling on the issues they face every day. From start-ups in the early stages of development to non-profit organizations with hundreds of millions of dollars under endowment, we have the experience counseling management on a wide array of subject matters.