March 31, 2017
An administrative law judge has ruled Google Inc. does not have to give the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs pay information dating back to the formation of the company in 1998 or the names and contact information of 20,000 workers at its headquarters as part of a random audit. Importantly, Google's preliminary victory in the DOL lawsuit is based in part on the fact that the company only has $600,000 in federal contracts but it would cost over $1 million to comply with OFCCP's data request. According to HR Policy Vice President Mark Wilson, "While OFCCP has broad power to ask for information during compliance audits, the decision appears to draw a line for what the agency can ask for that other contractors may want to test." Judge Steven Berlin said it was "unreasonably burdensome" for the OFCCP to expect Google to turn over pay data dating back to the company's incorporation. According to the decision, "Although a worker's starting salary—and later adjustments to that salary—obviously relate to compensation, OFCCP has not shown how a starting salary 19 years ago—and 16 years before the government contract—is relevant to its proper purpose in a compliance review." The Judge also said OFCCP's request for base salaries, bonuses, overtime compensation, average hours, performance ratings and an explanation of the factors used to determine compensation for the company's headquarters employees was overly broad. It is not yet clear whether OFCCP will continue to fight the case or withdraw the lawsuit before the April 7 hearing.