Department of Labor unveils groundbreaking labor rights decision – The Verge
Department Labor Theverge
In January, the US Department of Labor sued Google, claiming that the company was withholding information relevant to an ongoing compliance audit. The agency claims that it has found “systemic compensation disparities against women pretty much across the entire workforce.”
During a court hearing for the case on Friday, DoL regional director Janette Wipper explained that the agency determined that the tech giant pays female employees less than their male counterparts, according to The Guardian. In a statement to the paper, DoL regional solicitor Janet Herold confirmed the statement, noting that while the agency was still investigating, it had received compelling evidence of very significant intolerance against women in the most common positions at Google headquarters.
Google denied these allegations, saying that it “vehemently disagrees with Janette Wipper’s claim” and that the company has found no evidence of a pay gap during its annual analysis. It claimed that this was the first time it had heard of these allegations and that the DoL hadn’t provided the company with information about its methodology or data to support them. In a tweet posted earlier this week, the company said it had closed the global wage gap between genders.
The initial lawsuit was initiated when the company didn’t turn over some requested data on employee compensation during a September 2015 audit. According to Google, that information was withheld for privacy reasons, saying that the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) request was “overly broad.” The company refused to turn this information over, and the DoL has taken it to court to compel it to do so.
DoL (Department of Labor)
The Department of Labour (DoL) seeks to reinvent itself into a unified, efficient and seamless operation, it will not deviate from its key mandate – that of the protection of vulnerable workers.
The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCPT) ensures that businesses which take federal contracts comply with federal law. In particular, any contractor that does more than $10,000 in business with the government for a year is subject to equal employment opportunity regulations, which specifically prohibit contractors from “discriminating in employment decisions on the basis of race, colour, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or national origin.”
The OFCCPT ensures that businesses which take federal contracts comply with federal law. In particular, any contractor that does more than $10,000 in business with the government for a year is subject to equal employment opportunity regulations, which specifically prohibit contractors from “discriminating in employment decisions on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or national origin.”
Google claimed that the department of labor’s request was overly broad, and unduly burdensome
Learn what the new Department of Labor decision is.
In February, the OFCCP asked for a summary judgement on the matter, which a judge denied. Despite that setback, the DoL is pressing on. On Friday, the DoL issued a pre-hearing statement in which it spelt out its case asking the court to compel Google to turn over the information it required to the OFCCP.
While neither side disagrees that the tech firm is subject to these regulations, the statement explains that the DoL and Google disagree over a couple of facts: first, that the information, including employee names and contact information, is relevant to the audit, and that the company faces an “undue burden” by producing this data.
Understand why this decision has been so important for workers.
The DoL outlined that Google isn’t burdened by its request, nor is complying interrupting its business. The agency pointed to Google’s own policies and internal Affirmative Action Plan, saying that “Google created much of the burden about which it now complains,” and that it devoted $150 million to address diversity issues.
The agency also noted that the amount of business that Google does with the federal government is irrelevant to compliance with the federal order: more business doesn’t mean that the bar for an audit is raised. Furthermore, the OFCCP says it had offered to bear the cost of compiling the information.
Explore the impact of the decision on labor rights nationally and globally.
Department of Labour Director General (DG) Nkosinathi Nhleko told staff of the department at the President Hotel in Bloemfontein, Free State, today, 23 April, that at the core of the department’s mission was the inspection and enforcement of labour laws in line with South Africa’s labour legislation to protect the vulnerable workers.
Nhleko spoke during a report-back session on Project Shanduka, an organizational review management initiative that the Department of Labour is pursuing.
Project Shanduka – (Venda for a change) was initiated following a DG-led national tour in 2011 after he joined the department.
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Review Department of Labor unveils groundbreaking labor rights decision – The Verge.