Conversation Of The Week LV: Why is Google Blocking Minority Workforce Data?

April 22, 2013
Written by D. A. Barber in
National Collegiate Dialogue
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Google refuses to comply with federal laws regarding release of diversity data and share its white male workforce numbers among its more than 30,000 employees. Photo Credit: blog.inner-active.com

Apparently knowing how many white male workers a company has is a “trade secret,” at least it is according to Google and a number of other high-tech companies who refuse to release information on the diversity of their workforce or suppliers. This refusal prompted the Washington, D.C.-based Minority Business Round Table (MBRT) to re-new their call for an investigation into mandatory federal compliance, and they have gone after Google in particular for stonewalling questions concerning their workforce and supplier diversity data.

"We know of no other major corporation who failed to respond or acknowledge supplier diversity," said Ted Hsu, Co-Chair of the New England Minority Business Task Force in a statement released by MBRT on April 9. "We were told by a NYC Google executive that business opportunities are there, but we cannot participate. Sounds like evil, cloud based colonialism to me."

According to MBRT, federal law states all U.S. companies with more than 100 employees are required to file an annual report - called the EEO-1 - which classifies workers by race and sex. But when CNNMoney began probing some 20 of the largest U.S. technology companies in 2011 for their workforce diversity data, several of the largest companies – including Google – failed to provide the information.

What irks MBRT is that Google not only has over 30,000 employees with revenues over $50 billion, but the Silicon Valley technology firm also has federal contracts and is required to comply with the federal regulations.

"Google's lack of transparency and openness, shear defiance and blatant refusal to share required workforce and supplier diversity data is the epitome of ‘Too Big to Fail’ only with a tech twist – 'Too Big to Follow Federal Compliance,’" said Roger A. Campos President and CEO of MBRT.

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Comments

Disconcerting at best

Submitted by UCCSWEST-S2013-36 on

I really like Google, or rather I enjoy the services they provide so this article is quite disturbing to me. It would not surprise me to hear the a tech company did not meet the diversity criteria they are supposed to. The tech field has been a male dominated field for a long time. However, I do think they should be transparent. I think they should be making a legitimate attempt to improve the amount of diversity within their company and if a white male was hired over someone who is not, I think they should be willing to explain why. I do not, however, think they should hire someone who is not qualified just because they are not a white male, but I think the company needs to be honest about what they consider qualified and what they do not, but I digress. I think at the very least companies, especially any companies with government contracts, should be open about how diverse or not their company is.

Blocking Minority Workforce Data

Submitted by UCCSWEST-S2013-41 on

As we all know a great majority of large corporation do not hire minorities as often as they hire whites. I am not surprised that large corporations feel as if they are above the law, in today’s society we have catered to their desires because of the economic contributions that corporations make. In the case of Google I think there should be no option for non-compliance especially given the fact that the federal government has contracts with Google. There are specific reasons that reporting was mandated by the federal government and I think if Google refuses to comply the government should not renew their contracts. Their actions are suspicious, it seems as though they are trying to hide information. This is not a new requirement and compliance should be strictly enforced or the federal government needs to go back to the drawing board and figure out a new policy that they will enforce across the board.

I completely agree with you.

Submitted by UCCS-S2013-21 on

I completely agree with you. In a way, Google, being the large powerful corporation that it is, is able to get away with this and other situations that other companies could not. It directly correlates to white privilege. The privileged go un-looked. In the rare instances when they are called out, they still can get away with more than those who are not privileged. In this case, its the privileged company covering for themselves and the privileged race.According to an article discussed in class, the African American male with no felon is still less likely to be hired than the Caucasian male with a felony.

Without Google stubmitting to

Submitted by UCCSWEST-S2013-41 on

Without Google stubmitting to this law we simply don't know the reasoning behind their opaqueness. I think you make a good point that the technology field is dominated by men, and in the United States mostly white men. I too do not think that people in general should be given positions they are not worthy of possessing. This goes back to the whole idea of meritocracy. If someone is not qualified for a position, someone who is qualified should be the one in it. That in my opinion is ideal but probably not ideal to many others. I too use Google products frequently, I don't think this will change my use of their products but seeing how they are defying federal regulation, until they agree to comply and do so the government should not renew contracts or enter into any new ones.

It in interesting that Google

Submitted by UCCSWEST-S2013-16 on

It in interesting that Google is uncooperative. Google seems like a very forward thinking, worldwide company that would employ the top minds for the sake of progress, not withstanding their race or gender. Maybe there are valid reasons Google does not feel comfortable showing their employment demographic statistics.

Money has Power

Submitted by UCCSWEST-S2013-19 on

If it is a federal requirement to report their workforce diversity, shouldn't Google be facing some kind of legal action? It is disgracful that such a large and wide known company would refuse to give up that information. It must mean that they are not complying. It will all eventually catch up with them. The thing is, is when you have money it seems as though you can make anything go away. Seeing as Google is one of those wealthier companies, I'm sure they will find a way out of the mess. With as many employees as they have they should have no problem meeting Federal Requirements. It's a shame really.

Agree

Submitted by UCCSWEST-S2013-1 on

I agree, the fact that Google refuses to comply implies that there is something they are hiding and I agree should be subject to a deeper investigation.

Accountability

Submitted by UCCSWEST-S2013-12 on

First things first--it is a sad state of affairs when the federal government has to require companies to supply reports showing the diversity, or lack of, in their companies. I completely agree that there is a need for the federal government to require this because companies continue to operate through overt and covert discriminatory practices. We, as a country, should not have to have the federal government looking over the shoulders of companies, but when there are companies that continue to discriminate, it is necessary. Within our country you would be hard pressed to find someone that does not use Google, unless they have never owned or seen a computer, so it disturbs me that as a service that I use on a daily basis has something to hide. When a company pushes back against a policy that ensures equal and fair employment opportunities, Google opens themselves to great scrutiny. I also believe that the companies that fail to provide the report, or falsifies the report, need to be held accountable. It is hard to say what form of accountability, because all too often the companies that fail to report have revenues that are in the billions. As a country we should not need such requirements, we should be providing everyone fair and equal opportunities, no matter their race, gender, sexual orientation, or ethnicity.

Mixed feelings

Submitted by UCCSWEST-S2013-1 on

Of course I completely think it is wrong for any corporation to show any type of favoritism to any one "race" but at the same time I have issues with the fact that we have to focus on some sort of minority quota. Until we stop looking at what race and sex each person is during the hiring process and begin focusing on qualifications we will never rid the issues of racism and sexism in the workforce. I don't agree with having to fill out what race or sex or even religion I am on any type of form because if I have the skills required for the job, that is the only thing that should be taken into consideration. We are still dividing ourselves and categorizing each other and until we can just look at each other equally things will never change in this country.

Google's Non-compliance

Submitted by UCCS-S2013-2 on

When I first read about affirmative action policies, I’ll admit that I was a little bit confused. It is considered discriminatory practice if any company employs more than eighty percent of one race and less than twenty percent of another. Also, when two equally qualified employees are considered for promotion and one is a minority and the other Caucasian, it is considered discriminatory practice if the employer chooses to promote the Caucasian over the minority. I certainly understand the reasoning behind affirmative action. We are overtly trying to make sure that minorities are presented with as equal an opportunity for employment as Caucasians. At the same time however, I believe that this practice causes employers to look more at race instead of qualifications, which inadvertently causes the discrimination gap to widen. I do not think it is right for Google to withhold it’s employee diversity information, because it it federally mandated that it be reported and no one is above the law. However, if Google employs a workforce that is qualified and doing their job well, I do not think that they should be reprimanded for non-compliance with affirmative action policies if that is the case. As long as they offer equal opportunity employment for everyone who is qualified, regardless of race, I don’t believe that a problem should be raised.

Google's failure to comply

Submitted by UCCS-S2013-11 on

When I read this, I wasn't necessarily thinking of affirmative action and a minority quota that had to be filled. My thoughts are that it is not right that Google be able to back out or not comply with something that they are federally regulated to do. They enjoy the benefits of having federal contracts, so they need to comply with all aspects of having a federal contract. This to me was just another way that corporations feel like they do not have to follow the rules that everyone else has to follow. It is surprising to me that they are the only ones who decided that they were not going to give the information. It sounds to me as if they are hiding something, not necessarily that they are not doing it out of principal, which is what they would like people to believe.

Like any other countries,

Submitted by UCCS-S2013-28 on

Like any other countries, most of Americans who have a high socioeconomic status are big into human networks. A human network is more like business friends, and it is personal references. It means there is no such thing as “business friends” diversity. Although a person has a same ability as the other or a little bit less, the person has more possibility to get the job just because the employer knows him/her. Most of the time, same racial people get together, and it is mostly because of their socioeconomic status. They live in the same neighborhoods. Obviously, Google has something to do with having only white employees. I assume that Google has a huge human network system which might make white employees to unify with only whites. Google supports whiteness even more and promotes the imbalance of racial gap in socioeconomic status. This tells that we still have a lot to work on in regards to racial discrimination in our society.

People working for Google

Submitted by UCCS-S2013-19 on

People working for Google obviously think they are superior to others who don't have the power and the money that they have. It seems like they are definately hiding their high number of white employees. They didn't know that they have to file an annual report classifying workers on sex and race? Hiding just will not do them good. Are they ashamed now? This is such a problem withing a work force. Not just for big companies like Google, but many pther big or small companies discriminate on race and sex. We need to look past the skin color, stop assigning the negative stereotypes to minorities, stop playing by a safe card, and give opportunity to all.

What is obvious?

Submitted by UCCSWEST-S2013-6 on

I'd like to respectfully argue that there is nothing obvious about this situation. Nothing. We can speculate the intentions, and we can speculate whether Google feels superior or not, but nothing about it is obvious.There is neither a right or wrong answer to an appropriate conclusion, but in my opinion (which can be taken with a grain of salt) is that we, in fact, should NOT look past skin color. Apart from privileged white people, skin color has heavy influence over the daily lives of minorities. I agree that opportunity should be equal, but qualifications should be superior.Expanding on the last part, that's why, I assume, these regulations are in place. We can't look past skin color because it's important.

Google... Adding to the glass ceiling

Submitted by UCCSWEST-S2013-9 on

I think that this is a prime example of why it is hard for women and minorities to one, break into the workforce and two, to advance in the workplace in a normal fashion. Google is such a big and powerful company that they must feel like they do not need to follow rules and regulations. It is these big companies that are so huge that they can do virtually anything they like, because nobody is able to do anything about it. I can't necessarily say that they are keeping women or minorities out of jobs at Google, but I don't think they would refuse to show diversity if they had some. Bad publicity for google is not going to make people stop using the services the company provides, because it is something that we have come accustomed to living with. I think that integrity in the workplace needs to be enforced in all positions and google seems to be lacking some of that integrity.

I find this very disturbing

Submitted by UCCS-S2013-14 on

I find this very disturbing because if Google is not complying with the law and is not hiring diverse people, this sets us back as a society. The whole point of the EEO is so we can give equal opportunities to people of all races. I think that maybe one reasons why Google is not complying with this law is the fact that they are a major company. Although I really like Google I think that the government needs to make an example out of Google and pursue this further so other companies do not follow in the same path as Google.

Assumptions

Submitted by UCCSWEST-S2013-6 on

!'m rather undisturbed by this article. Yes, it's baffling that Google isn't complying with something so simple, but I'm not going to be so quit to assume that it's because they're not following the requirements OR that they're employing to many white people over minorities. Those are both possibilities, but I'm not going to make rash assumptions.I agree that the companies should be more diverse. It's a two sided argument because some argue that it further promotes racism by hiring minorities over more qualified white employees. Don't hold me to anything I just mentioned. These are the opinions of my father that I wanted to share with all of you. He too is making assumptions. He's assuming that minorities will be less qualified. I doubt there's any truth to that. The other side is that some company's are, in fact, racist. Without these regulations they wouldn't hire beyond whatever race they choose.This leads me to another point. Why are we always so quick to assume that it's white people being racist and/or dishonest in regards to following these regulations? It's just as likely that a minority race leader could attempt to exclusively hire minority races.All I'm saying is that I try not to make assumptions in these situations considering we have no evidence, although it is suspicious.