Commentary

Google Finally Does Something Right

By David Almasi | March 20, 2020 | 9:59am EDT
A sign bearing the name of Google is displayed. (Photo credit: FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images)
A sign bearing the name of Google is displayed. (Photo credit: FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images)

Google is often an opponent of conservative values, but the Big Tech giant should be admired for one thing: its efforts to drain the D.C. swamp.

The National Center for Public Policy Research’s Free Enterprise Project (FEP), the nation’s leading activism arm for conservative shareholders, regularly takes Google and its parent company, Alphabet, to task for trampling intellectual property rights, promoting liberal groupthink in Silicon Valley, and even fighting our efforts to protect conservative employees from retribution related to their political beliefs.

Yet Google and other companies have our support in one area, as they fight lawsuits brought against them by an agency of the U.S. Department of Labor that is suing companies over discrimination claims that are rooted solely in statistical bean-counting.



 

Overall, we feel Google would best serve its investors, customers, and employees by being politically neutral and focusing on quality products and services instead of public policy. Likewise, we believe the federal government best helps the marketplace and taxpayers when the bureaucracy isn’t abusing its powers to pursue a woke agenda.

That’s why the Trump Administration should end the practice of filing race and gender discrimination lawsuits like those brought by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) against Google, Oracle, and other companies.

This harassment began during the Obama presidency – but just barely. The lawsuits were filed between the 2016 election and Inauguration Day. Despite the ideological differences between the outgoing and incoming administrations, the lawsuits have continued during Trump’s tenure.

As Kevin Mooney reported in the Washington Examiner, the lawsuits “are based solely on highly subjective, skewed readings of hiring practices and compensation figures.” In 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court noted that disparate impact based on numbers cannot stand alone – there needs to be evidence of intentional discrimination. Intention on the part of these otherwise notoriously liberal companies has not been proven here by the OFCCP.

A U.S. Chamber of Commerce white paper about the OFCCP didn’t dispute its “worthy mission” that is supposed to protect workers and enforce laws, but it did take issue with an agency that is “too often antagonistic toward the regulated community.” And the OFCCP’s power is immense, since it can prevent a company from obtaining or maintaining federal contracts.

“Facing the threat of debarment,” the Chamber report noted, “federal contractors are understandably reluctant to challenge OFCCP’s unreasonable document requests, overreaching investigations, or even allegations of discrimination.”

While some challenged companies have thrown in the towel, Oracle and Google are fighting back. Good for them, and for that they deserve our support.

Not only is this all an injustice, but it’s a waste of taxpayer money. The federal government’s witch hunt is compelling these businesses to spend millions of dollars to defend themselves against what appear to be flimsy charges against them.

This is why it’s important for the people in charge of the Labor Department, most notably Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia, to step in and rein in the OFCCP’s radical crusade.

What OFCCP is doing appears to be unconstitutional. At the very least, it’s certainly operating outside of its mandate. Reform is essential before jobs and investment end up at risk. If these bureaucrats are so concerned about civil rights, they should remember that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

Kudos to companies like Google for fighting back against the OFCCP. We will still criticize Google when it fails to protect ideological diversity in its workplaces, but taking this stand against D.C.’s swamp creatures is admirable. 

Google used to have a company motto: “Don’t be evil.” It may have abandoned that motto a few years ago, but businesses in America – even ones we disagree with such as Google – still must be protected from having evil policies perpetuated against them. And the federal lawsuits filed against Google and other companies, if allowed to proceed, could constitute an existential threat to the entire business community.

David W. Almasi is the vice president of the National Center for Public Policy Research.



 

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