The Government Is Suing Peter Thiel’s Palantir Technologies for Discrimination

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On Monday evening, the United States Department of Labor filed a lawsuit against Palantir Technologies. The suit alleges that the data-analytics start-up co-founded by Peter Thiel (of PayPal-founding, Facebook-investing, Hulk Hogan–backing, Gawker-killing, and RNC-speaking acclaim) used questionable hiring practices to screen out Asian job applicants.

According to the suit, Palantir “routinely eliminated” Asian candidates. Since 2010, the company has reportedly used résumé and phone screening as a way to filter out these applicants, even if they were just as qualified as other, white applicants for the same positions. Investigation into potential discrimination at Palantir began after the company was randomly selected for review by the Labor Department, which looked at Palantir’s hiring data between 2010 and 2015.

From Reuters:

In one example cited by the Labor Department, Palantir reviewed a pool of more than 130 qualified applicants for the role of engineering intern. About 73 percent of applicants were Asian. The lawsuit, which covers Palantir’s conduct between January 2010 and the present, said the company hired 17 non-Asian applicants and four Asians.

A representative for Palantir told Select All the company plans “to vigorously defend against these allegations.”

From Palantir:

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.

According to the data presented in their suit, the Department of Labor says “the likelihood that this result [hiring 17 non-Asian employees as compared to four Asian ones] occurred according to chance is approximately one in a billion.”