In January, the US Department of Labor filed a lawsuit against Alphabet subsidiary Google to force the company to provide information on payments to employees in order to maintain the company's federal contracts. “Like other federal contractors, Google has a legal obligation to provide relevant information requested in the course of a routine compliance evaluation,” Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs Acting Director Thomas Dowd said in a statement at the time the suit was filed. “Despite many opportunities to produce this information voluntarily, Google has refused to do so. We filed this lawsuit so we can obtain the information we need to complete our evaluation.”
In San Francisco court on Friday, the Guardian reports that government lawyers were unfurling their case: They allege "systemic compensation disparities against women pretty much across the entire workforce," as Department of Labor regional director Janette Wipper testified.
“The investigation is not complete, but at this point the department has received compelling evidence of very significant discrimination against women in the most common positions at Google headquarters,” a department spokeswoman told the Guardian. “The government’s analysis at this point indicates that discrimination against women in Google is quite extreme, even in this industry."
Not so, the company claims. "Every year, we do a comprehensive and robust analysis of pay across genders and we have found no gender pay gap," Google told the Guardian when asked for comment. "Other than making an unfounded statement which we heard for the first time in court, the DoL hasn’t provided any data, or shared its methodology.”
An attorney for Google, Lisa Barnett Sween, called the request a “fishing expedition that has absolutely no relevance to the compliance review,” according to the Guardian. Lawyers for the Department of Labor want the court to cancel any Google contracts with the federal government and block future contracts unless the company complies with the audit.