Palantir Technologies, a Palo Alto-based data analytics company, has issued a response to a discrimination lawsuit recently filed by the U.S. Department of Labor. The original suit, filed on September 26, alleged that Palantir “discriminated systematically against Asian job applicants in its hiring process and selection procedures.”
The tech company’s response? In its own filing issued today, Palantir says that no discrimination took place and that the Labor Department’s statistical analysis—the basis for the recent suit—is faulty.
The suit, according to Palantir’s 15-page response, wrongly suggests that the company “should have hired a workforce that matched the racial composition of the group of individuals whose resumes Palantir received, without regard to candidate qualifications.” Palantir’s response also points out that the suit addressed only three out of 44 job titles for which Palantir hired employees within the 18-month analysis period conducted by the Labor Department.
What’s more, says the response, 36% of those eventually hired across all the job openings within that timeframe were Asian—a rate that exceeds the percentage of qualified Asian employees in the external labor market, according to stats from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
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Not surprising for a data analytics company, Palantir offers more numbers to back up its argument. According to its filing, 37% of its product engineering team and 25% of its total workforce is Asian. While that doesn’t necessarily preclude discrimination, it does make an interesting point: Asian employees in Silicon Valley, at least among the engineering ranks, are actually over-represented. Women and other minorities, meanwhile, are not.
It is important to note that the lawsuit in question was not a result of complaints from employees or would-be employees. Rather, it was the result of what the Labor Department calls a “neutral selection process.” Because Palantir is a government contractor, it must comply with certain programs, one of which is to report the ethnic and racial makeup of its applicants and employees.
According to a Labor Department spokesperson, the agency has not filed a complaint against another Silicon Valley contractor in the last two years. Filed with the department’s Office of Administrative Law Judges, the lawsuit aims to both end the alleged discriminatory hiring practices.
Palantir’s aim? To clear its name and move on.