Jul 17, 2017

Google may not have to turn over data in Labor Department case

Marcio Jose Sanchez / AP

A judge said Google doesn't have to turn over some data the Labor Department requested as part of an equal opportunity employment audit, during which federal officials claimed in court that Google pays men more than women "pretty much across the entire workforce."

  • Backstory: The Department of Labor selected Google — a federal contractor — for the audit in 2015. This year, it sued seeking certain compensation information that Google said would hurt its employees' privacy if released. Google said the request was too broad, and it denied the claim that it pays women less than men.
  • The recommended decision: The administrative law judge agreed that Google only had to comply with some of the Labor Department's request. The Labor Department can appeal.

What Google says: "While we're pleased with Friday's recommended decision, we remain committed to treating, and paying, people fairly and without bias with regard to factors like gender or race," said Google's Eileen Naughton in a blog post. "We are proud of our practices and leadership in this area, and we look forward to working constructively with [the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs], as we complete this review and in the future."

What Labor says: The agency is also claiming victory. "The court's decision vindicates OFCCP's vigorous enforcement of the disclosure and anti-discrimination obligations federal contractors voluntarily accept in exchange for taxpayer funds," said Regional Solicitor Janet Herold, an official involved in the case, in a statement. "Contractors will be held to their promise to let OFCCP fully audit their employment practices."

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