The rules are simple – if you do work with the US Government as a contractor, then they have a right to view your compensation data and other personnel information if so requested by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP). Google has refused to give them the information voluntarily despite numerous requests, so on Wednesday the government filed an administrative lawsuit to have the courts compel Google to provide them with the information. The original request was made in a letter to Google "on or about" September 30, 2015. They are now asking the administrative law judge to either make Google comply or cancel all of Google’s current contracts and to bar them from future contracts.
Google claims to have given them “hundreds of thousands” of record during 2016, including compensation records. Google argues that the OFCCP is asking for information outside the scope of what they need and it wants to protect the privacy of its employees. When presented with their concerns, Google gets no response back from the government, but Google hopes they can work it out. An employment attorney said that employee privacy is a weak argument not to comply with the government’s request.
The lawsuit really stems from reports of unequal pay and discriminating against women and minorities. As a federal contractor, Google is barred from discrimination of any form, be it race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability or against military veterans. The Labor Department has been putting pressure on the Silicon Valley tech firms, which tend to hire more White and Asian men. The companies are making an effort to hire more minorities, but evolvement has been slow. Google claims that they are fully committed to diversity in their workforce and have always tried to hire as many minorities as they can.
The government is certainly within its right to request the information on employees, when they were hired, their starting and current salary, their starting job level, and any promotions, and more. This is all in an effort to secure the fact that Google is following the guidelines in their hiring practices. It will be interesting to see if Google finally complies or if the government will cancel all of Google's contracts.