Jan 5, 2017

Google is the latest tech firm to get sued by Feds over diversity

The Labor Department sued Peter Thiel's data startup Palantir last year for allegedly discriminating against Asian job applicants.

Now the agency has a new target in Silicon Valley, alleging that Google is stonewalling a routine audit of the company's equal opportunity hiring practices. Labor says that Google — a federal contractor — should have provided documents detailing things like employee salary history. Google didn't want to hand them over, so the agency sued.

What's on the line:

  • The search giant could lose its federal contracts
  • It could be banned from taking on federal contracts in the future

Counterpoint: Google told BuzzFeed News that it hopes to work with the agency. But it argues the documents in question were "overbroad in scope, or reveal confidential data."

The bigger picture: It's undeniable that Google has struggled with how to diversify its workforce — regardless of how this case turns out. Ninety-one percent of the company's employees in the United States are white and Asian. That's a trend you see at many Silicon Valley companies.

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