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Five Silicon Valley companies fought release of employment data, and won

Feb 17, 2010, 18:03 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Mike Swift)

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"But many of their industry peers see the issue differently. The Mercury News initially set out to obtain race and gender data on the valley's 15 largest companies, and nine — including Intel, Cisco Systems, eBay, AMD, Sanmina and Sun Microsystems — agreed to allow the U.S. Department of Labor to provide it.

""There's nothing to hide, in our view," said Chuck Mulloy, a spokesman for Intel, which contacted the Mercury News to share its employment data after learning of the newspaper's federal FOIA request filed in early 2008. "We just felt that we're very proud of the (diversity) programs we have in place and the efforts we put forth, and we don't have any trouble sharing it."

"Experts in the area of equal employment law scoffed at the idea that public disclosure of race and gender data — for example, the number of black men or Asian women in job categories such as "professionals," "officials & managers" and "service workers" — could really allow competitors to discern a big tech company's business strategy. A bigger issue, they said, is the social cost of allowing large, influential corporations to hide their race and gender data."

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