Google wins court battle with Labor Department over wage gap data

Amos Gonzales
July 18, 2017

In making his decision, Berlin criticized the Labor Department's theory that potential gender-based pay disparities at Google stem from negotiated pay.

The audit continues, and what the DoL discovers will reveal if Google is the rare utopia of a tech company without gender discrimination it claims to be.

Google has been ordered to hand over personal details of 8,000 employees as part of an ongoing US Labor Department investigation into equal pay.

The US Department of Labor had earlier asked Google to share personal details of its current as well as previous employees to ascertain claims related to pay disparity between male and female employees and the judge incharge of the case has ruled in the search engine giant's favour. "We are proud of our practices and leadership in this area, and we look forward to working constructively with OFCCP, as we complete this review and in the future".

Citing fears about hacking - and recent cyber attacks on the US government - the court instead recommended the agency seek and obtain from Google the telephone numbers and email addresses from up to 5,000 of its workers, provided the company already has that data in its possession.

The defense earned a strong rebuke from the DoL and others in the industry who noted Google has touted its $150m "diversity" efforts and has a almost $28bn annual income as one of the world's wealthiest companies, building some of the most advanced technology.

A judge ruled that Google does not have to hand over some of the data that the Department of Labor had requested as part of an investigation into whether the internet search giant had engaged in gender pay discrimination.

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The DOL, which is still set to receive contact information from thousands of employees, has an opportunity to appeal Berlin's decision in order to amass more workers' data. "It can achieve the same ends going back far fewer years".

Google had previously given the Labor Department data on roughly 21,000 employees who were working at its Mountain View headquarters as of September 1, 2015, including information on gender, base salaries and salary adjustments, as part of a routine audit.

Google in May argued that the DOL's request was "burdensome".

"Over the past year, in connection with this audit alone, we've provided more than 329,000 documents and more than 1.7 million data points, including detailed compensation information, in response to [Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs'] 18 different data requests", Naughton wrote in a blog post.

Eileen Naughton, Google vice president of people operations, said in a blog post dated Monday that Google has already provided more than 329,000 documents and more than 1.7 million data points, including detailed compensation information, in response to OFCCP's 18 different data requests.

The Labor Department did not return phone calls seeking comment Monday.

Other reports by BadHub

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