Google accused of ‘systematic’ underpayment of women workers across entire company

Bureau of Labour said it found ‘compelling evidence’ of pay gap

Rachael Revesz
Sunday 09 April 2017 17:10 BST
Women make up nearly one third of Google’s 77,000 workers
Women make up nearly one third of Google’s 77,000 workers

The US Department of Labour has accused internet giant Google of not paying women employees the same as men.

The agency found “systemic compensation disparities against women pretty much across the entire workforce”, according to Janette Wipper, a Labour Department regional director.

The Department’s regional solicitor Janet Herold said the agency has “received compelling evidence of very significant discrimination against women in the most common positions at Google headquarters”.

Google strongly denied the claims and criticised the Department of Labour for not revealing how it had collated its data and said it was the first time that company had heard of such accusations.

“Every year, we do a comprehensive and robust analysis of pay across genders and we have found no gender pay gap,” Google said in its statement.

The company took to Twitter to defend itself, insisting it had closed the wage gap between men and women across the world.

The findings come after the same Government agency sued the internet company in January, accusing the company of not handing over information on employee pay for an audit.

Google said it was withheld for privacy reasons and the requirements were “too broad”.

Undeterred, the Government agency asked the court on Friday to compel Google to turn over the required information to the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs.

The OFCCP works with companies that do more than $10,000 worth of business with the government per year, and prohibits “discriminating in employment decisions on the basis of race, colour, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or national origin.”

The OFCCP has argued that handing over the information does not interrupt Google’s business, and is encouraging the kind of inquiry into gender diversity that the company has spoken about itself and in which it has invested $150 million.

Of Google’s 70,000 workers, nearly one third of them are women. Only 19 per cent of its tech jobs are carried out by women.

The Labour Department’s wider probe into a lack of gender equality in Silicon Valley resulted in a lawsuit against Oracle earlier this year, which claimed that white male workers earn more than their female and non-white counterparts for comparable work.

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