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By Nick Wakeman

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Nick Wakeman

Labor threatens Google with debarment

A dispute between Google and the Labor Department over a records request has escalated into a lawsuit and a threat to debar Google from doing business with the federal government.

Labor filed the suit on Wednesday with its Office of Administrative Law Judges asking that Google be forced to turn over compensation data and other information that is part of what Labor says is a routine compliance evaluation.

As a federal contractor, Google is required to let the government inspect and copy records and other information related to compliance with equal employment laws.

Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs originally made the request for the information in September 2015, and since then the department and Google have battled over what the company needs to turn over.

Google said in a statement that it has turned over hundreds of thousands of records over the last year. “However, the handful of OFCCP requests that are the subject of the complaint are overbroad in scope, or reveal confidential data, and we’ve made this clear to the OFCCP, to no avail,” the statement reads.

The sticky point is employees' private contact information.

The Labor review involves compliance with Executive Order 11246, Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974. These laws make it illegal for contractors to discriminate in employment because of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability or status as a protected veteran.

“We’re very committed to our affirmative action obligations, and to improving the diversity of our workforce, and have been very vocal about the importance of these issues,” the Google statement says. “We hope to continue working with OFCCP to resolve this matter.”

If Google fails to comply with Labor’s request, the department is asking that all of Google’s current contracts be canceled and that the company be debarred from future contracts.

With its G Suite offerings of cloud-based email, documents and collaboration tools, Google has been on the leading edge of the government shift to cloud computing.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Jan 05, 2017 at 9:36 AM

Reader Comments

Fri, Jan 6, 2017

When petty bureaucrats at Labor disputing formats and PII can make decisions that could cost the taxpayer megabucks and set back technology across the federal government, you know it's time to "drain the swamp." If the threats are real (and not just inferred), the threat-ers should all have their federal salaries reduced to the $1/year they are worth. Google is an American treasure; hold them accountable in a court of law, but don't threaten them with the big Federal hammer to coax compliance with what could very well be overreaching, unreasonable requests.

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