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Director: lower salary offer still 'good money for an Indian'

In the hierarchy of a corporation, a New Jersey employee may not always agree with the decisions of a supervisor or other individuals higher up on the organizational tree. There are times when subordinates must simply keep their mouths shut and do as instructed. There are, of course, other instances in which employees should refuse with the full weight of the law behind them.

An instance in which the law shields those employees that refuse to follow orders is when those orders are made based on race, religion, sex or other protected class. A senior regional manager for the company Oracle Inc. has decided to enforce those legal rights after he was terminated for refusing to pay an employee a lower salary based on his race.

The complainant worked for the company for several years and had the power to suggest promotional employment offers -- of course, with a salary that was approved by his sales director and human resources. In September, the senior regional manager made the request that an employee with an excellent track record be transferred to work in California.

The request was approved, but with an alteration to the salary that the senior regional manager suggested. After a lower salary was suggested, the employee refused to make the offer based on those terms. Shortly after, the senior regional manager was terminated from employment with the company.

It wasn’t that the salary number itself that violated any laws; it was the discriminatory basis for the disparity that bothered the senior regional manner and why the wrongful termination lawsuit was filed.

According to the complaint, the only reason that a lower salary was suggested was that the employee was Indian. The disparity in the suggested salary and the salary that Caucasian employees earned was also supported by a comment from the sales director that the income would still be “good money for an Indian.” The human resources manager agreed, saying that lowering the salary for this individual was fair.

Source: Bloomberg, “Ex-Oracle Manager Claims Firing Over Indian’s Pay Offer,” Karen Gullo, Jan. 9, 2014

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