ibusinesslines.com
ibusinesslines.com July 22, 2017


Google wins battle over employee data

17 July 2017, 10:02 | Kelvin Horton

Image via Getty

Image via Getty

In a big win for Google, administrative law judge Steven Berlin has spared the tech giant from handing over information of over 25,000 employees to the US Department of Labor (DOL), which has accused the company of systematic compensation disparities.

Google has repeatedly rejected those allegations, while arguing in court that the Labor Department's requests for data are onerous and would jeopardize the privacy of Google's employees. Google did not comply and in an attempt to force it to release the data, the Department of Labor filed a lawsuit against the tech giant at the end of a year ago.

The company insisted that its own analysis showed no significant difference between men and women's compensations, and that there was a process available to employees concerned that they were being treated unfairly.

A federal judge in California has ordered Google to provide the federal government with pay records as part of a wage discrimination suit.

Instead, the judge said the OFCCP initially can request information for up to 5,000 Google employees, and may request information for up to 3,000 more.


"Anyone alive today likely is aware of data breaches surrounding this country's most recent Presidential election", Judge Berlin wrote.

The case began in January, when the OFCCP filed a lawsuit requesting salary structure details and employee information from Google in order to verify that the company is meeting Executive Order 11246, which prohibits federal contracts from discrimination based on race, colour, religion, sex or national origin, and gives the OFCCP authority to verify. The same has occurred at other government agencies and private businesses. "This Office (OALJ) has been hacked".

"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 Eileen Naughton, the vice president for people operations at Google, in a blog post.

A spokesman for the Department of Labor, meanwhile, did not immediately respond Sunday night to an email about its next step. The company agreed to comply with the recommendation, which could be finalised by the end of this month unless appealed by the federal lawyers. "Contractors will be held to their promise to let [DoL] fully audit their employment practices", said Janet Herold, the department's regional solicitor.

Still, the government's probe is hardly over - and it comes at a time of heightened scrutiny in Silicon Valley over the way women are treated in the tech industry.



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