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Oracle sex suit winner seeks $679,000, apology

Former IT sales account manager in England seeks compensation after winning her gender discrimination case.

An IT sales executive is seeking nearly $680,000 from software maker Oracle after winning a sex discrimination case against the company.

Karen Carlucci, an American IT sales account manager who worked at the company's U.K. headquarters in Reading for 10 years, won the sex discrimination case at an employment tribunal earlier this year, after exposing a "boys club" culture in which she was subjected to sexist e-mails and sexist behavior from her male bosses.

After making a formal complaint of sex discrimination to Oracle, Carlucci said she was told by her manager, "Is this how you want to be remembered?" And after returning to work following maternity leave for the birth of her second child, she said a restructure forced her into a lower-level job and so she resigned.

At a hearing this week over the costs to be awarded, Carlucci claimed that the stigma of a sex discrimination case and the fact that she is 38 years old with two children prevents her from obtaining a similar position and salary within the IT industry with a new company. She currently lives in Utah.

At the time she left Oracle, she had a $116,546 basic salary with on-target earnings of $229,000. She is claiming loss of future earnings and aggravated damages totaling $679,000.

James Laddie, counsel for Carlucci, told the tribunal that it "beggars belief" that Oracle is claiming that a sex discrimination case on her record would not have a negative impact on her future job prospects.

In his final submission, Laddie outlined a "deliberate policy of exclusion at the highest level" and cited the "high-handed and arrogant" conduct of Oracle throughout the hearings, including repeated nondisclosure of documents and e-mails vital to the case. Oracle's "witnesses lied all the way through the liability proceedings," he said.

Laddie told tribunal chairman Richard Byrne, "This is not a common or garden (variety) sex discrimination case. It is a single individual taking on a global organization. The effect on Ms. Carlucci has been severe and long-lasting."

Daniel Stilitz, counsel for Oracle, dismissed Carlucci's $679,000 claim as "perverse" and described Carlucci's attempts to mitigate her loss by trying to find a new job after leaving Oracle as "abject." He said Carlucci's record in IT sales would make her an attractive candidate. "To suggest it renders someone unemployable is not the case," he said.

Oracle has since spent $184,000 training 200 managers on equal opportunities, but Carlucci is also still seeking a public apology from the company.

The employment tribunal is expected to reach a final decision on compensation by the end of November.