News


Palantir reaches nearly $1.7M settlement with feds

Department of Labor accused the company of hiring discrimination

Palo Alto-based Palantir Technologies was ordered to pay nearly $1.7 million in back wages by the U.S. Department of Labor in a settlement over allegations of hiring discrimination, the agency announced Tuesday in a press release.

The department's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs alleged the software company of unfair hiring practices against Asian applicants for engineering jobs. The money will be paid to the class affected by the suit.

The suit alleges the company of discriminating against three applicants who were interested in working as a quality assurance engineer, software engineer and quality assurance engineer intern.

The software company headquartered downtown at 100 Hamilton Ave. is a federal contractor. Executive Order 11246 prohibits a company from employee discrimination based on race, color, sex or national origin.

The federal office suspected the practices began in January 2010 and started investigating the company in July 2011.

In September, the department filed the complaint after it was "unable to find resolve the findings" of its investigation with Palantir, but the company said it disputed the accusations.

"We appreciate Palantir working with us to resolve these issues," office acting director Thomas Dowd said in a press release. "Together, we will ensure that the company complies with equal employment opportunity laws in its recruitment, hiring and other employment practices."

"We disagree with the allegations made by the Department of Labor," Palantir spokeswoman Lisa Gordon said in an email. "We settled this matter, without any admission of liability, in order to focus on our work. We continue to stand by our employment record and are glad to have resolved this case."

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Comments

19 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 26, 2017 at 12:40 pm

$1.7 million is a slap on the wrist for a company like this. I guess the Trump administration is not very interested in protecting the rights of non-white American workers. The fine is more like hush money to keep the case out of the courts. Will the victims actually get any money?


12 people like this
Posted by So Bogus
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Apr 26, 2017 at 12:40 pm

A company should be able to hire who they want when they want.


25 people like this
Posted by Baloney
a resident of Community Center
on Apr 26, 2017 at 1:17 pm

Palantir's workforce is about 40% Asian, and like many high tech companies, they haven't been able to find many Black or Latino people who are educated enough to be qualified for the jobs they have available.

So, like many high tech companies, they hire H1BVisa workers whose native countries pay for their education, no matter how advanced or expensive the degree!

Believe me, it is easier to hire a qualified American, because helping someone get an H1B visa is a lengthy
and difficult process.

Unfortunately, we have had many non-native employees assure us, during the hiring process, that they already have the visa process started-/ until months after hiring when it comes to light that they never started it at all and come crying to HR that they are in danger of deportation!

We would MUCH prefer to hire American citizens, but so few have been able to afford college, much less the minimum Master's Degree that we require!


2 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 26, 2017 at 1:48 pm

There's more than one way to see this article. I think it is written without giving the whole story. I for one am confused.


9 people like this
Posted by Clarification
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Apr 26, 2017 at 2:00 pm

@So Bogus: Regarding your comment "A company should be able to hire who they want when they want."

I think in general that is true. The issue here is that our federal government does not employ contractors that discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Since Palantir has many lucrative contracts with the federal government, they are being held to that standard.


19 people like this
Posted by PT Barnum
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 26, 2017 at 2:02 pm

Everyone -- even an English major -- knows a cheap H1B Visa employee @ $60,000 costs less than paying a similarly qualified US citizen $100,000 or more for the same job.

How many times have you read about laid-off Americans having to train their cheap replacements here in the States or abroad.

Can we say Stack & Pack in hacker hotels that destroy Palo Alto?

Just ask Ivanka about cheap foreign labor.


19 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 26, 2017 at 2:13 pm

This article says nothing about H1B visa holders. Palantir discriminated against non-white US citizens and permanent residents.


4 people like this
Posted by Michael Vilain
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 26, 2017 at 6:27 pm

Baloney,

It was my understanding that Palentir has many federally-funded projects that require US Citzenship to work on them. AFAIK, H-1B visa employees won't work for those.


5 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Apr 26, 2017 at 6:53 pm

"Can we say Stack & Pack in hacker hotels that destroy Palo Alto?"

Palo Alto is not being destroyed, merely repurposed.


7 people like this
Posted by AmyInNH
a resident of another community
on Apr 26, 2017 at 8:46 pm

Fascinating. So it's legal to discriminate against Americans (standard for Silicon Valley H1B hires) but not okay to discriminate against Asians?


17 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 26, 2017 at 8:47 pm

Palantir's underpaying its the workforce may explain why Palantir employees beg for cheap housing.


13 people like this
Posted by Retired Scientist
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 26, 2017 at 9:37 pm

Rule 1 - Never hire foreign born workers if you are working with new technologies or ANYTHING involving security. This applies to drug development, computer technology, chips, farming, seed stocks, and energy.
Foreigner born workers are going to be loyal and true to their homelands, and (unlike the old days) they keep their connections back home.

I have learned the hard way.


12 people like this
Posted by Repurposing Palo Alto Process
a resident of Community Center
on Apr 27, 2017 at 3:36 am

@Curmudgeon, maybe it's not that "Palintir's is underpaying its the workforce may explain why Palantir employees beg for cheap housing," but that it's overpaying them since they've spent -- and are spending -- so much time chairing Palo Alto's major planning commissions.

Playing politics takes a lot of time; either you're neglecting your job or the details of your political appointments.


19 people like this
Posted by Opportunity
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Apr 27, 2017 at 9:22 am

Can we get Palintir to move out of downtown on moral grounds?

Time for them to be in an office park


10 people like this
Posted by Beltway Bandits
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Apr 27, 2017 at 11:45 am

The DC Beltway has lots office parks. Or they might feel more at home at Mar Largo or in the "basement" of Comet Pizza of Pizzagate fame.


8 people like this
Posted by @Michael Vilain
a resident of Professorville
on Apr 27, 2017 at 12:37 pm

Lawrence Livermore Labs, Sandip Labs, SLAC, etc are ALL supposed to hire citizens, but sometimes do not. The current director of SLAC is a citizen of Taiwan!

Remember Wen-Ho Lee, the Taiwanese cortizen who allegedly spied for China for years while working at LL Labs; he became a naturalized citizen as he felt the noose tightening, but proceeded to download 500 pages of classified information for China. He was never convicted, citing lack of evidence, but, all these years later, he has yet to explain the 500 pages of classified information he downloaded!


Like this comment
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 27, 2017 at 3:47 pm

"He was never convicted, citing lack of evidence, but, all these years later, he has yet to explain the 500 pages of classified information he downloaded!"

As you said yourself, there was insufficient evidence. What more do you need?

And if he's not charged with a crime, he doesn't have to explain anything. That's how the laws work here.

Stick with the law. It's safer for you too, even if it occasionally lets people you decide you don't like off the hook.


2 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 27, 2017 at 3:51 pm

"Rule 1 - Never hire foreign born workers if you are working with new technologies or ANYTHING involving security. This applies to drug development, computer technology, chips, farming, seed stocks, and energy."

How about manufacturing same in a foreign country where labor is really cheap? You don't suppose some local engineers sneak in disguised as local cheap assembly line workers, do you? Yet that's how it's done, ain't it?

Bottom line vs. patriotism. Bottom line wins.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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