Judge Sides With Google In Lawsuit, Says Labor Department Violating Employee Privacy

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Eric Lieberman Managing Editor
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A judge ruled Friday that Google does not have to give up all data demanded by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), due to privacy concerns.

Judge Steven Berlin, who focuses on administrative law, determined that the DOL’s argument for its purported right to obtain employee information was “over-broad, intrusive on employee privacy, unduly burdensome; and insufficiently focused.” He listed a number of concerns, including if the employee data “will be secure from hacking” once transferred, or whether Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) workers will misuse the data or not.

“OFFCP has already collected for 21,114 employees information such as name, date of birth, place of birth, citizenship status, visa status, salary and stock grants,” Berlin wrote in his decision. “That information, if hacked or misused, could subject tens of thousands of employees to risk of identity theft, other fraud, or the improper public disclosure of private facts.”

Through an official lawsuit, the DOL petitioned for the company’s employee data in September 2015 as part of a larger audit by the OFCCP. Government authorities want to determine if the tech conglomerate is comprehensively abiding by equal pay laws.

DOL officials specifically assert that Google is not paying women the fair amount in comparison to their male counterparts.

“We found systemic compensation disparities against women pretty much across the entire workforce,” Department of Labor Regional Director Janette Wipper said in April during a court hearing, according to TechCrunch.

Google adamantly denies the allegations. (RELATED: Google Is Lawyering Up In Europe After Record Fines)

The DOL, which is still set to receive contact information from thousands of employees, has an opportunity to appeal Berlin’s decision in order to amass more workers’ data.

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