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Lawsuit: Oracle Called $50K 'Good Money For an Indian' 409

jfruh writes "A former Oracle sales manager is suing the database company for what he called racially discriminatory salary-setting practices. Ian Spandow wanted to transfer a high-performing salesman from Oracle's India office to California. When he requested a salary of $60,000 a year or more for the employee, equivalent to what his white American counterparts received, he was told instead to offer $50,000, which was 'good money for an Indian.' When Spandow protested, he was himself summarily fired."
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Lawsuit: Oracle Called $50K 'Good Money For an Indian'

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @09:58AM (#45950179)

    Oracle didn't say anything. Some dude that works there said it. The company should be charged for any discrimination their employees say, but don't make it like it was a statement from their PR or anything like it. There are people that saying stupid things like that anywhere, at any given time.

  • by oscrivellodds ( 1124383 ) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @10:03AM (#45950215)

    No, you don't understand. Amnesty and immigration are needed to keep the social security Ponzi-scheme going. There simply aren't enough young people paying into the system to support all those retired old people. We need to make the undocumented workers legal so they can be taxed.

    What Ellison, Zuckerberg and other of their ilk want is more H1B visas. H1B visas are needed to keep salaries down by replacing relatively highly paid American tech workers with lower paid imports who will be unable to leave their awful working conditions to seek better elsewhere lest they be sent back to the countries they worked so hard to leave.

  • Re:Shocking (Score:1, Insightful)

    by wisnoskij ( 1206448 ) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @10:05AM (#45950237) Homepage

    Lol. Find me one company in the entire world that pays its Indian in India employees as much as its California ones?

    Now, when someone is already working for for you for far far less, and you are paying for one of them and his family to move to America, why would you expect them to pay him as much as the other employees, already there. Assuming, this guy did not really really want to stay in India, he would obviously of accepted $50K, which is probably already a huge raise.

  • Re:Shocking (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @10:05AM (#45950249)

    I gotta say, it was hilarious (in retrospect) how the open source community got ultra-paranoid about Mono and C#, and it turned out that it was Java that turned into the lawsuit fodder instead.

    Do any of the people who were beating up on de Icaza feel bad about that now, or are they incapable of shame?

  • Re:Truth hurts (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CanHasDIY ( 1672858 ) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @10:05AM (#45950251) Homepage Journal

    Indian = someone from India.

    Well, yea. That's evident by the fact they offered him money, instead of signing the contract, getting him drunk, then peeing on the contract up as they steal all his land.

  • Re:True, yet. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by MickyTheIdiot ( 1032226 ) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @10:07AM (#45950269) Homepage Journal

    That would mean law is enforced, and that is commie red soshalsism, friend.

  • by mi ( 197448 ) <> on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @10:12AM (#45950323) Homepage Journal

    $50,000, which was 'good money for an Indian.'

    It certainly is good money for someone — whatever their race — from India, where that same person was earning much less...

    When Spandow protested, he was himself summarily fired

    Unless Mr. Spandow's own dismissal was due to racism or some other illegal discrimination against him, I doubt, the suit will be found to have much merit. Bad publicity for Oracle — maybe. But nothing worse. Oh, and a much of folks in India thinking, that he is a spoiled idiot...

  • The cruelest part (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dishwasha ( 125561 ) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @10:13AM (#45950331)

    Was that they were only willing to offer him $50,000, not even $60,000 in CALIFORNIA. Isn't $60,000 a year under the poverty line there?

  • Re:Shocking (Score:5, Insightful)

    by binarylarry ( 1338699 ) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @10:14AM (#45950345)

    I suspect if Google had chosen Mono instead of Java, Microsoft would have sued the fuck out of Google exactly like Oracle did. Hell, Microsoft is shaking down Android OEMs over FAT patents.

    So that mistrust was not wrong, Oracle and Microsoft both suck and their product offerings reflect that.

  • Re:Shocking (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @10:15AM (#45950357)

    might be a huge raise, but the living expenses are very different too

  • Re:Shocking (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @10:21AM (#45950421) Journal

    I'm shocked. Oracle has always seemed like one the more reputable companies, willing to compete fairly, not obsessed with gouging its customers, and nary an evil bone in their corporate body. I can't imagine them hiring or promoting people that would act like this.

    Honestly, I am shocked; but for totally different reasons:

    Oracle is evil, sure; but they are a major corporation, with a legal department, HR, 'Compliance' people, and so on. Try to stiff an employee and fire him if he complains? Fuck yeah, Larry can't keep himself in yachts if the peons get all the crumbs they ask for.

    Outright admit that you are engaging in discrimination based on racial/ethnic/national origin, when there are so many other ways to massage something as potentially ambiguous as salary level, 'fit with the company', and so on? Was somebody drunk on the job? Asking to get fired and sued? Got away with it so often that they got arrogant?

    That is what strikes me as shocking (though, rather convenient for the cause of justice). There are endless legal, or at least 100% unprovable, ways of fucking with somebody. What kind of utter moron would be dumb enough to tell the guy the truth to his face?

  • Re: Shocking (Score:3, Insightful)

    by FishTankX ( 1539069 ) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @10:26AM (#45950493)

    I think this isn't about race more nationality.

  • Re:Shocking (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @10:27AM (#45950503)

    Pretty much this.

    It is surprising how many thinks that money by itself has a value. It doesn't, the value comes from the things you can buy from it.
    Say that I don't have any desires beyond somewhere to sleep and food for the day. My salary would still have to be significantly higher if I work in the US instead of in China.

  • Re:german law (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ThatsDrDangerToYou ( 3480047 ) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @10:32AM (#45950551)
    Salaries are basically a con. A business will pay you as little as they think you will accept. There are skillset supply and demand constraints, local market conditions, and whatever else is in your salary history. If a business you worked for 10 years ago wasn't doing well and hence didn't give decent raises, future employers use this as fodder for justifying paying you less than another person who managed to market themselves into a higher wage position.

    So it goes..

  • Re:Shocking (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wvmarle ( 1070040 ) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @10:48AM (#45950737)

    In contrast, in many Asian countries, it are the western ex-pats that are asked by their employer to move that get payed more than the local staff. And on top of that extra pay, they often get housing allowance, schooling allowance for their children, and other benefits local employees do not get. These salaries are not only higher than what locals get, they're also higher than what they'd get back home. The justification is that these people are exceptionally good at what they do, and are worth their money, and that the company needs this foreign talent. So they receive the extra cash and benefits as incentive to move.

    Now of course it's more common that people move from high-paying countries to low-paying countries, however it's quite reasonable for that Indian employee to not only get offered a salary at least as much as what the US locals get, but also other allowances. Indeed that $50k will be a lot more than he gets in India, though cost of living in the US are far higher as well. It may very well be that at say $20k in India he can have a higher standard of living (big house, car, various domestic staff such as a butler, gardener and a maid) than he can have at this $50k in the US.

    The guy is considered so good, they want to move him to the other side of the world. That generally means he's at least as good as, if not better than, the top performers of his US counterparts. Otherwise a company would not normally bother with the efforts of moving an employee.

  • by TheGratefulNet ( 143330 ) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @10:58AM (#45950853)

    you joke, but for that income in the bay area, you'd have to have room mates, eat cheap food every day and maybe not even own a car. and you'll have no savings each month, it will all go to rent, food, insurance.

    $60k/yr might be ok in some areas of the country, but you will never have anything in your savings account at this kind of rate and with bay area housing prices. if you define poor as being a paycheck away from being homeless, this could count as being poor, then.

  • Re:Shocking (Score:5, Insightful)

    by camperdave ( 969942 ) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @10:59AM (#45950859) Journal
    Are you suggesting that the 60k/yr Americans working at the California office are only getting H1-B or L1-B visa level salaries? No. This has nothing to do with violating visa pay rates. This has to do with discrimination: paying someone less than someone else for the same work simply because of the color of their skin. It also has to do with being spiteful, spoiled brats: to whit, firing an employee for pointing out illegal or unethical behaviour.
  • Re:Shocking (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ElectricTurtle ( 1171201 ) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @11:25AM (#45951171)
    You and the poster above you are very, very naive about the role of "Westerners" (really just bai ren, white people, Latinos not so much because Asians think they're like the diaosi of Westerners) in East Asian businesses, especially mainland Chinese. It's often not about talent at all, it's about the company's image. Having a 'white guy' on your staff is 'impressive', so much so that there are 'rent a white guy' [] services in China for business affairs where you want to impress but don't want a full time 'white guy' just hanging around on the payroll.
  • Re:Shocking (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ebno-10db ( 1459097 ) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @11:35AM (#45951271)

    It's not about race, it's about money.

    It's about race (ethnicity really) being used as a basis to pay someone less money. The motivation might be to save money, but so what? The practice is, and ought to be, illegal.

  • Re:Shocking (Score:5, Insightful)

    by aardvarkjoe ( 156801 ) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @12:01PM (#45951573)

    It's about race (ethnicity really) being used as a basis to pay someone less money.

    Nationality. Not race or ethnicity. There's zero reason to think that an Indian-American would have been offered a lower salary.

  • Re:Truth hurts (Score:4, Insightful)

    by CanHasDIY ( 1672858 ) on Tuesday January 14, 2014 @12:21PM (#45951845) Homepage Journal

    Well, yea. That's evident by the fact they offered him money, instead of signing the contract, getting him drunk, then peeing on the contract up as they steal all his land.

    To be fair, they *did* do that ca. 1600 to the entire Indian subcontinent, at the behest of a corporation, no less ("The British East India Company"). Took ~300 years before they could be overthrown, only to end up with a much more dangerous problem (India and Pakistan, both with nuclear capabilities).

    As An American, I refuse to take credit or blame for stuff the British Empire did.

    We have plenty of fucked up behavior in our own history, thankyouverymuch.

The absent ones are always at fault.