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Employee rights, pay gaps probed at Google's California offices

Tech giant Google is under federal investigation for its pay and privacy practices. The Department of Labor, through its Office of Federal Contractor Compliance Programs, is requesting more information about an observed wage gap between male and female employees at the company. The California company denies the allegation of unfair payment practices, but has also come under fire for policies  perceived as infringing on employee rights by violating federal laws like the National Labor Relations Act and state laws like the California Fair Employment and Housing Act.

The DOL investigation initially led to government to conclude that a gender-based wage gap did exist, but that they needed more employee salary information to prove it. When the DOL requested extensive histories, Google balked, and took it to court. A judge ruled that Google did not have to provide the complete employee salary data, but did rule that Google should provide another yearly snapshot of information, the same type of data that was used before. 

The investigation of the wage discrimination is ongoing, and Google also faces a lawsuit alleging illegal spying on its employees, as well as policies that limit the employees' abilities to speak out due to restrictive confidentiality agreements. A John Doe lawsuit is being pursued at this time relating to these allegations. Google has responded, saying that confidentiality policies have been changed, and that there is no gender-based wage disparity. 

The current news is awash in stories of tech businesses facing charges of employee rights violations. Tech companies, with Google being one of the biggest, are struggling with charges of being unfair to their employees, but government groups are attempting to find out the facts and hold businesses accountable. In California, an employee has the right to consult with an attorney about any questions they may have about employee rights violations. 

Source: wired.com, "Google deliberately confuses its employees, Fed says", Nitasha Tiku, July 25, 2017

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