Google ordered to hand over records on women's pay

While this is a step forward, its not the probe the Labor Department originally imagined.

A judge ordered Google to give employee records to federal investigators examining the alleged "systematic" gender pay gap at the Internet company.

Google must hand over the contact information for up to 8,000 employees to theLabor Department so it can investigate whether the search giant shortchanges women who perform similar jobs as men. This is according to a provisional ruling issued on Friday by Steven Berlin, an administrative law judge in San Francisco.

The alleged compensation disparities, which the company denies,were uncovered during a routine contracting audit, according to The Washington Post. The allegations come at a time when other Silicon Valley companies face scrutiny for pay gaps, gender discrimination and sexual harassment.

RELATED: Check out gender pay gap from state to state:

51 PHOTOS
Gender pay gap state to state ranking
See Gallery
Gender pay gap state to state ranking

51. Louisiana 

Gender pay gap: 34.7%

(Ian Dagnall / Alamy)

50. Utah 

Gender pay gap: 32.4%

(CountyLemonade/Flickr)

49. Wyoming 

Gender pay gap: 31.2% 

(Philip Scalia / Alamy)

48. West Virginia

Gender pay gap: 30%

(J. Stephen Conn/Flickr)

47. North Dakota

Gender pay gap: 28.7%

(Tim Evanson/Flickr)

46. Alabama

Gender pay gap: 27.4%

(Danny Hooks / Alamy)

45. Idaho

Gender pay gap: 27.2%

(Philip Scalia / Alamy)

44. Oklahoma

Gender pay gap: 26.5%

(thefixer/Flickr)

43. Montana

Gender pay gap: 25.8%

(John Elk III / Alamy)

42. Michigan

Gender pay gap: 25.5%

(curiousjohn/Flickr)

41. Indiana

Gender pay gap: 24.8%

(ellenm1/Flickr)

40. New Hampshire

Gender pay gap: 24.3%

(cmh2315fl/Flickr)

39. South Dakota

Gender pay gap: 23.8%

(SuperStock / Alamy)

38. Mississippi

Gender pay gap: 23%

(Don Smetzer / Alamy)

37. Kansas

Gender pay gap: 23%

(Jim West / Alamy)

35. Iowa

Gender pay gap: 22.7%

(Ellen Isaacs / Alamy) 

34. Missouri

Gender pay gap: 22.6%

(L. Allen Brewer/Flickr)

33. Ohio

Gender pay gap: 22.2%

(sailwings/Flickr)

32. New Mexico

Gender pay gap: 21.9%

(Patrick Ray Dunn / Alamy)

31. Arkansas

Gender pay gap: 21.8%

(Buddy Mays / Alamy)

30. Texas

Gender pay gap: 21.2%

(Ian Dagnall / Alamy)

29.  Maine

Gender pay gap: 21.2%

(PHOTOPHANATIC1/Flickr)

28. Nebraska

Gender pay gap: 21.1%

(Ian G Dagnall / Alamy)

27. Wisconsin 

Gender pay gap: 21.1%

(Jeff Greenberg 5 / Alamy)

26. Illinois

Gender pay gap: 20.9%

(incamerastock / Alamy)

25. Pennsylvania

Gender pay gap: 20.8%

(dannyfowler/Flickr)

24. Kentucky

Gender pay gap: 20.1%

(toddmundt/Flickr)

23. Virginia

Gender pay gap: 19.8%

(JoeDuck/Flickr)

22. South Carolina

Gender pay gap: 19.8%

(Ellisphotos / Alamy)

21. New Jersey 

Gender pay gap: 19.7%

(Robert Quinlan / Alamy)

20. Alaska

Gender pay gap: 19.2%

(retro traveler/Flickr)

19. Delaware

Gender pay gap: 19.0%

(J. Stephen Conn/Flickr)

18. Tennessee

Gender pay gap: 18.5%

(Jim Nix / Nomadic Pursuits/Flickr)

17. Minnesota

Gender pay gap: 18.4%

(kla4067/Flickr)

16. Rhode Island

Gender pay gap: 18.3%

(Dougtone/Flickr)

15. Georgia 

Gender pay gap: 18.2%

(Ian Dagnall Commercial Collection / Alamy)

14. Colorado 

Gender pay gap: 18.1%

(Jesse Varner/Flickr)

13. Massachusetts

Gender pay gap: 18.0%

(Manu_H/Flickr)

11. Connecticut

Gender pay gap: 17.4%

(Dougtone/Flickr)

10. Vermont

Gender pay gap: 16.2%

(pthread1981/Flickr)

9.  Arizona

Gender pay gap: 15.9%

(Photoshot Holdings Ltd / Alamy)

8. California

Gender pay gap: 15.8%

(Robert Landau / Alamy)

7. North Carolina

Gender pay gap: 15.3%

(sevenblock/Flickr)

6. Florida

Gender pay gap: 15.1%

(FL Stock / Alamy)

5. Nevada

Gender pay gap: 14.9%

(D-Stanley/Flickr)

4. Maryland

Gender pay gap: 14.6%

(tim caynes/Flickr)

3. Hawaii

Gender pay gap: 14.1%

(Mauro Ladu / Alamy)

2. New York

Gender pay gap: 13.2%

(drpavloff/Flickr)

1. Washington D.C.

Gender pay gap: 10.4%

(Alexandre Deslongchamps via Getty Images)

Puerto Rico has the smallest gender pay gap, and it benefits women. 

Gender pay gap: -4.6% -- Women earn more than men by a small margin

(Fuse via Getty Images)

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"We found systemic compensation disparities against women pretty much across the entire workforce," Janette Wipper, a Department of Labor regional director, said during her testimony in April.

While this is a step forward, its not the probe the Labor Department originally imagined. In the same ruling,Berlin denied the agency's initial request for the contact data for 21,000 Google employees on Friday, saying the Labor Department's demand was too broad and could violate workers' privacy. The ruling only applies to Google and not its parent company Alphabet.

Google denied that it pays women less than men. Eileen Naughton, the company's vice president of people operations, wrote in a blog post on Sunday that Google has provided more than 329,000 documents and more than 1.7 million data points. However, Naughton added that Google "reached an impasse" when deeper personnel information was requested.

"We were concerned that these requests went beyond the scope of what was relevant to this specific audit, and posed unnecessary risks to employees' privacy," Naughton wrote.

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