What Happens When You Google: Google and OFCCP?

Posted by Cindy Karrow, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, Senior HR Consultant on January 6 2017

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Google3.gifWhat happens when you google: “Google and OFCCP?” As of January 4, 2017, your search results will pull up the following headlines: 

Google sued by Labor Department over compensation data
USA TODAY-Jan 4, 2017
Google Stands Up to OFCCP in Compensation Lawsuit
SHRM-9 hours ago
Google gives up YOUR private data to US govt – but won't hand ...
The Register-22 hours ago
Google Faces Labor Department Lawsuit Over Pay Data
Bloomberg BNA-19 hours ago
 

In a surprise move given the change in administration, OFCCP announced in a press release dated January 4, 2017, that the agency had filed an administrative lawsuit against Google for Denial of Access to Records as part of its investigation of Google’s compensation practices. The press release with a copy of the complaint can be found using this link OFCCP Google Press Release.

What is the issue? In 2015, OFCCP scheduled a compliance evaluation for Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, CA. Google submitted all requested scheduling letter items, including Item 19 compensation information dated September 1, 2015. Item 19 information is a snapshot of required, detailed compensation information for each employee covered by the affirmative action plan under review.

The lawsuit states that on or about June 1, 2016, OFCCP requested various additional items relevant to Google’s compensation policies as part of the agency’s ongoing evaluation, including:

  • For the September 1, 2015, snapshot already submitted:
    • Job and salary history for these employees—including starting salary, starting position, starting “compa-ratio,” starting job code, starting job family, starting job level, starting organization, and changes to the foregoing;
    • Names and contact information for these employees.
  • An additional compensation snapshot as of September 1, 2014 (a year prior to the AAP date submitted for the audit) including the following information:
    • Job and salary history for these employees—including starting salary, starting position, starting “compa-ratio,” starting job code, starting job family, starting job level, starting organization, and changes to the foregoing;
    • Names and contact information for these employees.

Google refused to provide the September 1, 2014, snapshot and related items and the employee names and contact information for either snapshot.

The OFCCP’s complaint reports that since June 17, 2016, Google has denied access to the requested items despite the agency’s repeated efforts to gain cooperation. OFCCP issued a Show Cause Notice on or about September 16, 2016, however, Google continued to refuse to provide the requested information. Over the holidays, OFCCP filed an administrative lawsuit against Google, claiming that Google’s failure to provide the requested documentation is a breach of its obligations as a federal contractor or sub-contractor. If the items are not produced, the lawsuit requests an order cancelling all of Google’s federal contracts and sub-contracts and an order debarring them from future federal government contracts or sub-contracts until the company complies.

According a spokesperson for Google in a statement to Reuters, the company views the request as over broad in scope. Google also stated that OFCCP’s request for private contact information for thousands of its employees is inappropriate since this information is confidential and Google rigorously safeguards its employees’ information.

Given the length of time the compliance review has been open, the agency’s decision to file a lawsuit in the waning days of the current administration is surprising. This suit may be a sign that the agency is not going to slow down on aggressive enforcement activity while we await the appointment of a new OFCCP Director under incoming Secretary of Labor Andrew Pudzer. Stay tuned as we watch this situation unfold.

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Tags: Affirmative Action, Pay Equity