Washington, D.C. — Today, Democracy Forward sued the Trump administration for failing to release records that could reveal whether Oracle had influence over senior officials at the Department of Labor and for all communications regarding 2018 changes to the Department of Labor’s guidelines for enforcing federal contractor compliance with anti-discrimination laws. Last month, Oracle’s chairman Larry Ellison hosted a fundraiser that was expected to raise $7 million for President Trump’s reelection campaign.
“It’s ironic that at the start of Women’s History Month, the Trump administration is unlawfully withholding records that could explain efforts to restrict federal enforcement of anti-discrimination rules, including pay equity laws,” said Democracy Forward Communications Director Charisma Troiano.
In August 2018, the Trump administration rescinded guidance that the Department of Labor had used to analyze whether federal contractor compensation practices comply with federal laws and regulations, including rules prohibiting pay discrimination. Industry lauded this rollback as a tool to “constrain” DOL’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs — the office with jurisdiction over federal contractors to enforce anti-discrimination laws.
Oracle in particular has aired grievances against OFCCP after the agency alleged the tech company owes $400 million in back pay for discriminating on the basis of race and sex. In response to those allegations, Oracle filed a lawsuit challenging OFCCP’s legality and its enforcement authority, specifically with regard to discrimination on the basis of gender and race.
On December 16, 2019, Democracy Forward filed a Freedom of Information Act request with DOL seeking communications between Oracle and agency officials, including the Office of the Solicitor and the Office of the Secretary, regarding the guidance recission. Today’s lawsuit was filed after DOL failed to comply with its statutory obligation to release the requested records.
The Trump administration has a record of turning its back on workers, particularly women and minorities. For example, at the Department of Labor, the administration issued orders requiring greater political oversight of enforcement actions and previously sought to eliminate OFCCP. In addition, just two weeks ago in his first secretary’s order, Secretary Scalia gave himself the authority to override the decisions of the Administrative Review Board, the entity within DOL that had previously provided the final agency decision on enforcement actions brought by OFCCP— including the one brought against Oracle.
Democracy Forward is a nonprofit legal organization that scrutinizes Executive Branch activity across policy areas, represents clients in litigation to challenge unlawful actions, and educates the public when the White House or federal agencies break the law.