In January, the Department of Labor sued Google for extensive salary history and other information after it found “systemic compensation disparities against women pretty much across the entire workforce” during a routing contracting audit.
Last week, Judge Steve Berlin ruled that Google must provide some (but not all) of the data for which the DoL is asking.
Berlin insists the Labor Department’s request is too broad and risks violating workers’ privacy, especially in light of recent ransomware attacks. The judge also argues that the Labor Department did not convincingly explain why it needs extensive data on over 20,000 Google employees.
Many are considering Berlin’s decision a win for Google, but Labor Department attorney Janet Herold says she feels vindicated. “We’re pleased that Google is saying it’s going to comply with this decision,” she told The Hill. “We really wish Google had agreed two years ago to produce this information.”
Google denies all accusations of gender discrimination.
Google HR executive Eileen Naughton says she is “pleased” with the judge’s decision. “We remain committed to treating, and paying, people fairly and without bias with regard to factors like gender and race.”
During a hearing last month, Google argued that it would be too expensive and logistically complicated to provide the data requested by the Department of Labor. Google officials claimed it would cost $100,000 and up to 500 hours to comply with the request.
But Google is one of the most profitable companies in the country. “Google cannot claim…that it now has no money to comply with a federal agency seeking to ensure compliance with equal opportunity laws on behalf of the public,” complains DoL attorney Ian Eliasoph.
Eliasoph argues that Google is acting like it’s too big to comply with Labor. “Google takes routine requests and makes them sound onerous by emphasizing the number of people involved.”
Judge Berlin’s 43-page decision has yet to be finalized, but Google seems more than happy to comply.
“Assuming the recommended decision becomes final, we’ll comply with the remainder of the order, and provide the much more limited data set of information the judge approved, including the contact information for a smaller sample of up to 8,000 employees,” said Naughton.
It is very likely that the Department of Labor will continue the investigation using the limited set of worker records it stands to receive.
Author’s Note: Google is a California company with proven liberal credentials, and it says it is not discriminating. It would be interesting to see what criteria the Labor Department is using in its accusation. Does that criteria need to be adjusted?
If Google is not a meritocracy, then what company is?
Editor’s note: This is an example of how the Obama administration has gone overboard in accusing anyone and everyone of discrimination.