Google's federal foe in gender-discrimination pay battle slammed by judge

Paterniano Del Favero
Luglio 17, 2017

Extensive personal employee data and contact information for more than 25,000 employees.

"Over the previous 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. Google fought the lawsuit, and the Washington Post reports that a judge has ruled in favor of the tech giant.

Citing fears about hacking - and recent cyber attacks on the USA 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 ruling, made by Administrative Law Judge Steven Berlin on Friday, related to a request by the OFCCP that Google hand over the details of 21,000 employees.

Google Inc. got a win Friday in its ongoing dispute with the Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs over data on pay gaps between men and women at the company.

The Labor Department's federal solicitor in San Francisco, Janet Herold, told The Register: "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".

Berlin called the demand for so many workers' contact information "over-broad, intrusive on employee privacy, unduly burdensome, and insufficiently focused on obtaining the relevant information".

"We were concerned that these requests went beyond the scope of what was relevant to this specific audit, and posed unnecessary risks to employees' privacy", she said.

The judge decided that the OFCCP will have to do more work if it wants to receive more info.

Google has strongly denied any accusations of gender pay gaps within its staff, claiming the DoL had not provided any data or shared its methodology for the case. It has also interviewed 20 or so Google executives and managers.

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 plans to take the information Google is ordered to produce and start talking to Googlers about their jobs and pay. "We remain committed to treating, and paying, people fairly and without bias with regard to factors like gender or race".

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