Palantir Technologies, the secretive CIA-funded data-mining company, is being sued by the US Department of Labor for allegedly discriminating against Asian people in its hiring process and selection procedures, according to a government press release yesterday.
According to the suit, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) review found that, from 2010 until present, Palantir’s hiring practices have seen it repeatedly turn down Asian applicants in favor of white applicants for software engineering roles.
In one example, Palantir hired 14 non-Asians and 11 Asian candidates from a pool of 1160 qualified people, 85 percent of whom were Asian. The lawsuit says the possibility this happened by chance is one in 3.4 million.
The OFCCP said it contacted Palantir before the filing to try and resolve the issues, but the company declined to comply, leading to the Department of Labor launching the lawsuit.
Along with Joe Lonsdale, Palantir was co-founded by venture capitalist Peter Thiel, who serves as its chairman. It provides software and data analysis to a number of government branches, including the Army, FBI, Department of Defense, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Department of Justice, and the US Special Operations Command.
“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.”
Responding to the lawsuit, a Palantir spokesperson said: "We are disappointed that the Department of Labor chose to proceed with an administrative action and firmly deny the allegations. Despite repeated efforts to highlight the results of our hiring practices, the Department of Labor relies on a narrow and flawed statistical analysis relating to three job descriptions from 2010 to 2011. We intend to vigorously defend against these allegations."
The lawsuit seeks relief for persons affected, including lost wages. Palantir also risks the OFCCP requesting that its government contracts be canceled, and barring it from receiving any more future federal work.