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The Continuing Saga of the Google Lawsuit


The bench trial against Google began on April 7th and then was stopped by the DOL judge

At the start of the trial, OFCCP Regional Director Janette Wipper took the stand and explained why OFCCP expanded the initial data request.  According to Wipper, after partially analyzing the 2015 workforce data OFCCP found “systemic compensation disparities against women pretty much across the entire workforce….and we wanted to make sure we were looking at two full years, to see if a pattern emerges.”  Jane Suhr, Deputy Regional Director read aloud a list of approximately 30 items that Google failed to provide during the audit.  She also said that based on on-site interviews with Google Human Resource Managers and the Compensation Director, all of the missing items were relevant to compensation.

Google’s counsel argued that much of the data request had no relevance as to how Google calculated compensation for its employees and that the company has a right to guard its employee’s data from unlawful search and seizure.  Interrupting the attorney, Judge Steven Berlin said “Let’s focus on the evidence and not on legal arguments.”

During the cross-examination Wipper struggled to concisely answer questions about the department’s audit procedures or her understanding of Google’s compensation practices.  Wipper explained that the reason for the review was to learn more about Google’s compensation practices.

Google’s Director of Compensation explained that the compensation team does not see names, gender, race or ethnicity for applicants fresh out of college and job history, salary history and historical merit increases are not factors used in calculating compensation for any new Google attorney fresh out of college or not.

In the afternoon, Google’s attorney asked Judge Berlin if she could discuss a “significant matter” with her counsel.  After a 30 minute private meeting, the judge said that he believes that the issue that was discussed must be settled before continuing.  Google’s attorneys were given until April 14th to file a motion under seal. 

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