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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, September 30, 2016 - Volume 44 Issue 40
Labor Dept. sues homocon Peter Thiel
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Labor Dept. sues homocon Peter Thiel

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

The U.S. Department of Labor announced on Sept. 26 that it is suing Palantir Technologies and its owner, homocon Peter Thiel.

Thiel's company is charged with systematically discriminating against Asian job applicants. As a class-action suit, the Labor Department's action seeks relief for the affected class including lost wages, interest, retroactive seniority, and all other lost benefits of employment.

The suit follows a compliance review by the Labor Department's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), which found that from Jan. 2010 to the present, Palantir violated Executive Order 11246 by:

o Using a hiring process and selection procedures that discriminated against Asian applicants for software engineering positions on the basis of their race;

o Maintaining a hiring process in which Asian applicants were routinely eliminated in the resume screen and telephone interview phases despite being as qualified as white applicants; and

o Hiring a majority of applicants from a discriminatory employee referral system.

The overwhelming preference for referrals, combined with the contractor's failure to ensure equal employment opportunity for all applicants without regard to race, resulted in discrimination against Asian applicants, the suit alleges.

'Federal contractors have an obligation to ensure that their hiring practices and policies are free of all forms of discrimination,' said OFCCP Director Patricia Shiu. 'Our nation's taxpayers deserve to know that companies employed with public funds are providing equal opportunity for job seekers.'

The department filed the complaint after it unable to resolve its own findings of discrimination through negotiations with Palantir.

Palantir provides software and data analysis services under federal contract to the FBI, the U.S. Special Operations Command, and the U.S. Army.

In addition to Executive Order 11246, OFCCP enforces Sec. 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974. These laws make it illegal for contractors doing business with the federal government to discriminate in employment because of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, or status as a protected veteran.

In addition, contractors are prohibited from discriminating against applicants or employees because they have inquired about, discussed, or disclosed their compensation or that of others.

Thiel, who financed the Hulk Hogan lawsuit that bankrupted Gawker - allegedly because the gossipy website outed him - is a supporter of Donald Trump. The Huffington Post recently reported that Trump was thinking about appointing Thiel to the U.S. Supreme Court if elected president.

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