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In 2015 the U.S. Department of Labor launched a contract-compliance review of Google’s employment practices related to diversity. This past January, in its last month of office, the Obama DoL followed up with a lawsuit alleging that Google had not been forthcoming enough in providing employee information in response to the review, and asking a court to order it to comply. (As I mentioned in my Wednesday piece, for a company like Google to actually be in litigation over its employment practices “means lawyerly caution would be at a zenith on whether to let its corporate culture be portrayed in a future courtroom as tolerant of sexist argumentation.”)
The Labor Department’s suit was heard by one of its own in-house administrative law judges (ALJs), which ruled last month that the demands were “over-broad, intrusive on employee privacy, unduly burdensome, and insufficiently focused on obtaining the requested information.” While allowing some of the requests to go forward in pared-down form, the ALJ drastically cut back their scope and said the agency “OFCCP offered nothing credible or reliable to show that its theory … is based … on anything more than speculation.”
In a statement, Google said it was “concerned that providing personal contact information for more than 25,000 Google employees could have privacy implications, and the judge agreed, citing the history of government data breaches and recent hacking of Department of Labor data.”
Now if only Google could get its own employees to be as careful about not spilling confidential information about co-workers to parties on the outside.