Google wins court battle with Labor Department over wage gap data

Google wins court battle with Labor Department over wage gap data
© Getty Images

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.

The Labor Department had sued Google for extensive job and salary history and other data after it said it found “systemic compensation disparities against women pretty much across the entire workforce.”

Judge Steve Berlin said in a decision on Friday that the agency’s request was overly broad and raised privacy concerns. He did, however, order Google to partially comply with Labor’s request by providing a much narrower scope of data.

Janet Herold, a Labor Department attorney, said that despite Berlin's rejection of some of the agency's requests, she sees the decision as a vindication of the government's case.
"We're pleased that Google is saying it's going to comply with this decision," she told The Hill in a phone interview. "We really wish Google had agreed two years ago to produce this information."
"Our preliminary analysis revealed very concerning and serious pay discrepancies between men and women performing the same work at Google," Herold added.

Eileen Naughton, Google’s top human resources executive, applauded Friday’s decision and maintained that the company has conducted its own audits and determined that there is no gender disparity in wages.

“Over the last 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.

The OFCCP has the option to appeal the decision. A spokesman did not immediately respond when asked to comment.

“While we're pleased with Friday’s recommended decision, we remain committed to treating, and paying, people fairly and without bias with regard to factors like gender or race,” Naughton wrote in her post.

“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.”

This story was updated at 11:13 a.m.