In an advantageous decision for federal contractors, an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) ruled last week that a demand by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) for pay data about Google employees was "over-broad, intrusive on employee privacy, unduly burdensome, and insufficiently focused on obtaining the relevant information."

The OFCCP requested in September 2015 that Google provide contact information for its 25,000 employees as well as records on salary and job histories dating back almost 20 years. The OFCCP sought the information due to concerns about systemic gender-related disparities in compensation practices across the tech giant's workforce. Google refused to comply with the request, and the Department of Labor (DOL)—on behalf of the OFCCP—filed a lawsuit seeking the information.

In his July 14 recommended decision and order, Administrative Law Judge Steven B. Berlin wrote that Google did not have to provide the contact information for all of its employees because of data security and privacy concerns. In his decision, Judge Berlin stated that Google need only provide the OFCCP with information for up to 5,000 employees. Berlin also denied without prejudice the OFCCP's request for salary and job history dating back nearly two decades as being unreasonable and irrelevant to the investigation as currently focused.

If the DOL does not file an appeal with its Administrative Review Board, Google said it intends to comply with Judge Berlin's decision. Regardless of whether the order is appealed, however, this decision is a significant victory for federal contractors, as the OFCCP has previously been overwhelmingly successful in litigating cases of this nature.

Ballard Spahr's Labor and Employment Group routinely assists federal contractors and subcontractors with compliance with OFCCP rules and other regulations and requirements.

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