U.S. Department of Labor Sues Palantir for Discriminating Asian Job Applicants

The U.S. government has accused a tech firm of discriminating Asian job applicants from software engineering positions.

In a suit filed on Monday, the Department of Labor went up against Palantir Technologies, accusing the latter of placing Asians at a disadvantage in hiring processes.

Though qualified, Asian candidates were routinely cut from résumé screening and telephone interview, the New York Times reported. The company was also said to rely on an employee referral system that favored non-Asians.

Patricia A. Shiu, director of the department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, said:

“Federal contractors have an obligation to ensure that their hiring practices and policies are free of all forms of discrimination.”

In response, Palantir expressed disappointment, claiming that the department relied on a “narrow and flawed statistical analysis relating to three job descriptions from 2010 to 2011.”

Co-founded by Peter Thiel in 2004, Palantir specializes in big data analysis and maintains an engineering culture that’s focused on “solving the hardest problems” they can find. The Silicon Valley company is worth $20 billion, Forbes noted.

According to its official website, Palantir operates in small teams with “unlimited imagination”:

“There are no leashes at Palantir. We work on flat, decentralized teams, each with decision-making authority, and our people have the freedom to approach, own, and solve problems creatively. We’ve intentionally chosen this path over a traditional hierarchy, and it works much more often than not.”

If the lawsuit succeeds, Palantir’s ongoing and upcoming government contracts may no longer push through.

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