“Like other federal contractors, Google has a legal obligation to provide relevant information requested in the course of a routine compliance evaluation,” said Thomas Dowd, acting director of the Labor Department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs.
CBS News reports that the U.S. Department of Labor (DoL) has filed a suit in the Office of Administrative Law Judges to bar Google from doing business with the federal government unless it turns over confidential information about thousands of its employees. According to the suit, Google has refused to provide DoL with employee compensation information to ensure the company isn’t discriminating against workers based on gender or race.
The suit isn’t unusual, in the sense that any federal contractor is required to disclose this information, but the prominence of Google makes it a big story. For its part, the tech giant has said it has provided the government with hundreds of thousands of records, but that the information sought by the government was intrusive and runs the risk of violating employee privacy. At issue isn’t simply a matter of demographics breakdown—a sore spot for many tech companies who have shown to hire mostly white and Asian men—but the question of compensation equity across employment categories.