In July, we reported that an Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) had ruled on OFCCP’s dispute with Google over the tech giant’s refusal to turn over certain documents in connection with a routine audit of Google’s headquarters. In his Recommended Decision and Order, the ALJ narrowed the scope of what OFCCP could request from Google without identifying additional justification for the information requested. Our prior post on the decision can be found here.
On August 23, 2017, the Department of Labor (“DOL”) filed an appeal of the ALJ’s decision with the Administrative Review Board (“ARB”). In its filing, the DOL contends that the ALJ failed to “apply the proper Fourth Amendment standard,” and that Google should be ordered to “fully comply with [the] OFCCP’s information requests, which include: employee-level compensation data from 2014, full salary and job history information for those employees listed in the 2014 dataset, and names and contact information for employees listed in the compensation data request.”
The DOL’s arguments reflect an effort to maximize its ability to obtain information from government contractors during compliance audits. In essence, the DOL contends that the ALJ applied too high of a relevance standard in assessing the reasonableness of OFCCP’s requests, and too low of a burden standard when balancing the government’s need for information with the hardship its demands would place on the government contractor. The DOL argues that when the proper standards are applied, all of the information sought by OFCCP from Google should be produced.
Google will have a chance to respond to the arguments made by the DOL prior to a ruling by the ARB. We will continue to report on this case as developments warrant.