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Google says it would cost too much to gather wage gap data

Mountain View's lawyers called the Labor Department's requests "unconstitutional."
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Ore Huiying/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Department of Labor will have to keep bugging Google for the salary records it's been asking for, because the tech titan keeps refusing to hand them over. Those records might be able to prove once and for all whether Mountain View truly pays women a lot less than it does men. If you'll recall, the Labor Department is accusing the big G of "systemic compensation disparities against women pretty much across the entire workforce" and is suing the company for its salary information. Well, the company has just told a federal court that it won't gather the info the DoL wants because it would be much too expensive.

Google said it would have to spend over $100,000 and up to 500 hours to be able to fulfill the DoL's request. That's such a small amount for a tech titan that Ian Eliasoph, one of the agency's lawyers, pointed out that the company has a $28 billion annual income. "Google would be able to absorb the cost as easy as a dry kitchen sponge could absorb a single drop of water," he said. He also mentioned that the company has funds dedicated to improving diversity and that Google shouldn't be immune to anti-discrimination investigations just because it's "too big to comply."

The big G's lawyers argued, however, that Mountain View has already spent $500,000 and 2,300 hours of manpower to be able to comply to the agency's demands. They called those demands too "broad and unconstitutional," since giving the department the company's salary info would violate employees' privacy. A Google spokesperson told Recode that the requests "include thousands of employees' private contact information which we safeguard rigorously." The lawyers also said they violate fourth amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure.

Clearly, the two parties have a long talk ahead to be able to see eye to eye. Google is adamant, however, that there's no gender pay gap within its walls. Here's the tech giant's full statement:

"We'e 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. As a federal contractor, we're familiar with our obligations and have worked collaboratively with the OFCCP. We've worked hard to comply with the OFCCP's current audit and have provided hundreds of thousands of records over the last year, including those related to compensation. 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. These requests include thousands of employees' private contact information which we safeguard rigorously. We hope to continue working with OFCCP to resolve this matter."

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