Oracle ordered to pay in discrimination case

Former sales executive will receive nearly US$190,000 in a sex discrimination case deliberated in England.

Oracle has been ordered to pay a former sales executive nearly US$190,000 after the software giant lost a sex discrimination case.

U.S.-born Karen Carlucci, an IT sales account manager for 10 years at the company's U.K. headquarters in Reading, won the sex discrimination case at an employment tribunal earlier this year. She was subjected to sexist e-mails and sexist behavior from her male bosses, she says, and was demoted after bringing a formal complaint.

At a compensation hearing at a Reading employment tribunal earlier this year, Carlucci asked for US$710,000 (370,000 pounds) in damages related to loss of earnings. She said the stigma of a sex discrimination case and her age would prevent her from getting a similar position within a new company.

But this week, the tribunal ruled that a loss of earnings could only be claimed up until Carlucci's decision to relocate to Utah with her family in December 2003, six months after she left Oracle.

Based on her annual basic salary of US$120,000 and average commission of US$250,000, the tribunal awarded Carlucci US$188,000 for the period she was out of work in the United Kingdom. The figure also included costs for aggravated damages and unfair dismissal.

Richard Byrne, the tribunal's chairman, criticized Oracle's behavior toward Carlucci and its conduct during the hearings.

The final judgment document stated: "The decision to demote her was taken at a senior level and was a response to her having issued proceedings in the tribunal claim of sex discrimination against the respondent. The defense of the proceedings was deliberately intended by the respondent's to be (intimidating) and cause the maximum unease and distress to the applicant."

The tribunal did not follow one of Carlucci's demands that the board of directors at Oracle make a public apology for the treatment she suffered. The tribunal said that because Oracle had never admitted liability and was appealing the initial decision, it would be inappropriate at this time.

Andy McCue of reported from London.