A U.S. Department of Labor official disclosed the agency's allegations during a Friday court hearing in San Francisco.
"The government's analysis at this point indicates that discrimination against women in Google is quite extreme, even in this industry", said Janet Herold, a DoL regional solicitor. In fact the company recently claimed that it has closed its gender pay gap globally and provides equal pay across races in the US. Being a federal contractor, Google should allow the agency to inspect some basic data on its workforce and make sure the company isn't violating any equal opportunity laws, but the company refused to cooperate with the DOL after the federal department launched a new compliance review of the firm past year.
Google, however, denied the allegations saying it had never heard of such a practice until it was mentioned in court.
First, Google would bear no real burden in coughing up the data, because the agency offered to "extract" it from source records, according to the department.
"We want to understand what's causing the disparity", the department representative said.
Google has fought the agency's efforts, claiming the data request was too broad and violated employee privacy.
The department filed a lawsuit against Google in its quest to get the company to hand over information on its compensation.
One of Google's attorneys, Lisa Barnett Sween, testified in opening remarks that the requests were irrelevant to the compliance review, according to the Guardian. It did not provide us with any data nor would it tell us whether it has supplied the Department of Labor with the hard data it has asked for.
The industry is now under scrutiny from the Labor Department for the issue.
Google's federal licence as a contractor insists that such records be available for inspection, but the United States government claims that it repeatedly refused to comply when asked to cooperate with a compliance audit. Last year, they reported that women made up 31 percent of its overall workforce - and 19 percent of its tech workforce - and that only 3 percent were Latino and 2 percent were black.
The government has collected information that points towards the violation of federal employment laws by Google, the DoL said. The Department of Labor was looking to gather documents and salary data from Google.