Google today has been hit with a lawsuit by the United States Department of Labor for withholding data in an ongoing audit centered on anti-discrimination efforts.
It’s important to note that the lawsuit doesn’t accuse Google of actually engaging in discrimination, but rather that it is not being as forward as the Department of Labor would like through the audit process.
According to the complaint, uncovered by The Verge, officers began the audit in September 2015 and requested a series of compensation snapshots for employees that would allow wages to be compared over time. A few months later, Google declined to provide such data, citing privacy reasons. Google’s refusal to supply this specific data comes after it had cooperated with other parts of the audit, supplying, “hundreds of thousands of records” throughout the process.
Google explained in a statement that it has worked willingly with the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, but feels the organization is now making requests that are overbroad in their reach:
“We’ve worked hard to comply with the OFCCP’s current audit,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement. “However, the handful of OFCCP requests that are the subject of the complaint are overbroad in scope, or reveal confidential data, and we’ve made this clear to the OFCCP, to no avail. These requests include thousands of employees’ private contact information which we safeguard rigorously. We hope to continue working with OFCCP to resolve this matter.”
The audit comes from Google’s contracting business, which focuses on providing advertising and cloud computing services to federal agencies. Because it’s a federal contractor that does more than $10,000 in business, there are specific rules and regulations to which Google must adhere and cooperate.
In many cases, these audits uncover evidence that leads to anti-discrimination suits, such as discrimination against a certain race in job hiring, pay, or workplace treatment. As of now, however, Google has not been accused of any sort of discrimination, it’s just not cooperating with the audit. Whether or not that means it’s hiding something remains to be seen…