Google has tried to restrict the media reporting of a high-profile gender discrimination case brought by the US government.
The US Department of Labor has accused Google of consistently underpaying women, and the court battle centers on the company’s refusal to hand over salary data the government has requested.
The DoL alleged that the tech giant had violated federal laws when it did not provide employees’ salary history and contact information as part of an audit.
Google insists that the data request was too broad and violates its workers’ privacy.
The case comes at a time where there are increasing criticisms over sexist workplace cultures, gender discrimination and widespread pay disparities.
Court documents reveal that Google unsuccessfully argued that a judge should dismiss a lawsuit filed by DoL, claiming that a government attorney may have violated ethics rules by doing an interview with the Guardian on 7 April.
Google filed for a motion for a dismissal of the case, which highlighted the companies aggressive efforts to end the case. The motion was rejected in court.
Google also attempted to restrict press access during a hearing last month. Following a private meeting with the judge about the Guardian’s reporting, Google’s attorney requested that the proceeding be closed to the media before continuing, but a DoL attorney objected and the judge sided with the government.
The DoL said it uncovered the pay inequities in a 2015 snapshot of wages, but that investigators needed historical compensation data to evaluate possible causes as well as the opportunity to confidentially interview employees.
Google has repeatedly claimed that it has eliminated its gender pay gap globally with compensation models.
During a hearing, Google released a statement to the Guardian saying it “vehemently” disagreed with the “unfounded” allegations and raised questions about the DoL’s data and methodology:
“Every year, we do a comprehensive and robust analysis of pay across genders and we have found no gender pay gap.”
The DoL declined to comment on the recent filings. A Google spokesperson said:
“We … look forward to continuing the hearing on the access demands”, adding: “As we’ve stated before, our analysis gives us confidence there is no gender pay gap at Google.”