The US Department of Labor says that they have found evidence of a “systemic compensation disparities against women pretty much across the entire workforce” at Google. It was just this winter in January that the labor department sued the tech giant after it was accused of withholding information regarding a compliance audit.
Back in September 2015, Google failed to provide data on employee compensation that had been requested by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP). After Googled refused to provide the data information, the Department of Labor was forced to take the tech giant to court in order to retrieve the documents.
So what was Google’s reason for withholding the information? The company says that it refused to provide the data due to reasons of privacy. It went on to say that the information requested by the OFCCP was “overly broad.”
OFCCP believes that businesses that are under federal contract should comply with federal law, that includes Google. It’s also believed that any contractor that brings in more than $10,000 in business for the government for over a year should provide equal employment. This forbids contractors from “discriminating in employment decisions on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or national origin.”
Regional Director for the Department of Labor, Janette Wipper, stated during a court hearing on Friday, that Google pays its female employees less than their male peers. It was later that the Department of Labor’s Regional Solicitor Janet Herold made confirmation of the statement to a source. Herold told the source that while the DOL was still investigating the issue, it has proof that there is “very significant discrimination against women in the most common positions at Google headquarters.”
As for Google’s position on the matter? The tech giant completely denies all these allegations. It made a statement to a source saying that it “vehemently disagree[s] with [Wipper’s] claim.”
In its own investigation, Google says it has not found any evidence of a pay gap between men and woman during the company’s annual analysis. Google says it’s the first they have heard about the Department of Labor’s accusations, and that the labor department failed to provide them with any sort of information or data to support their claims.
Later in February, the OFCCP asked a judge for a summary judgment on the matter. The judge denied the request. At the court hearing on Friday the DOL persisted in a prehearing statement that it was imperative the court make Google hand over the requested information it has yet to provide to the OFCCP.
Between the OFCCP and the DOP, both are in agreement that Google should turn over information and is subject to all regulations. In the prehearing statement, however, it was explained that the DOL and Google are clear on a few of their incongruities. One being that employee names and contact information are important to the audit. Another disagreement between the two is that Google believes that it will be subject to “undue burden” by providing this information to the OFCCP.
As for Google facing an “undue burden”, the Department of Labor feels that Google will be under no such burden by these requests or will its business be interrupted by its compliance with federal order. Instead, the DOL believes that Google’s Affirmative Action Plan created just as much of the burden that Google was worried about not to mention the $150 million Google spent toward diversity issues.
DOL also made it known that any of the business that Google does with the federal government has nothing to do with the company’s compliance with federal order. The OFCCP had even offered to pay for the cost of gathering the information need.