Feds Demand Employee Records From Google

(CN) – The U.S. Department of Labor says Google failed to provide requested employee data as part of a routine audit of its compliance with federal law labor laws.

The department filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday to force the Mountain View, California-based company to turn over particular information and documents related to its equal opportunity program that the department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs requested in June 2016.

The agency specifically requested job and salary histories and contact information for Google employees included in a “snapshot” Google sent on Sept. 1, 2015, and a similar snapshot that the agency had requested the previous year.

As a federal contractor, Google is required to allow the federal government to inspect its records to make sure it is following equal employment laws, in this case the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974.

These laws make it illegal for contractors doing business with the federal government to discriminate against employees or deny job applicants employment based on race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or status as a veteran.

Google had been awarded a contract of more than $600,000 for “advertising and integrated marketing solutions” by the General Services Administration in June 2014.

According to the Labor Department’s lawsuit, its June 1, 2016 data request was refused by Google on June 17.

“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. “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.”

A Google representative said the company is aware of its obligations under the law, and has “worked hard” to comply with the agency’s requests, turning over hundreds of records in the past year.

“However, the handful of OFCCP requests that are the subject of the complaint are over-broad in scope, or reveal confidential data, and we’ve made this clear to the OFCCP, to no avail,” the representative said. “These requests include thousands of employees’ private contact information which we safeguard rigorously. We hope to continue working with OFCCP to resolve this matter.”

The agency seeks an order requiring Google’s compliance or – if the tech giant continues to withhold the data – an order cancelling its contract and barring it from participating in any future government contracts until it provides the information.