Google accused of “systemic” gender pay gap

The US Department of Labor (DoL) has accused Google of “systemic compensation disparities” in how the company pays female workers compared to male counterparts.

Google accused of “systemic” gender pay gap

An ongoing investigation into Google’s payment practices was revealed during a court hearing, for a lawsuit the DoL filed against the search giant after it resisted calls to provide salary documentation to the government.

During the hearing, Janette Wipper, a DoL regional director, testified that the department “found systemic compensation disparities against women pretty much across [Google’s] entire workforce”.

This was backed up by comments from the DoL’s regional solicitor Janet Herold, who told the Guardian: “The investigation is not complete, but at this point the department has received compelling evidence of very significant discrimination against women in the most common positions at Google headquarters.”

Herold went on to say: “The government’s analysis at this point indicates that discrimination against women in Google is quite extreme, even in this industry.”

That final point gives an indication of just how severe these allegations are, given that the tech industry is in a rather sorry state when it comes to gender equality. Uber has been at the centre of multiple claims of systemic sexism over the past few months, while startup culture in Silicon Valley is allegedly rife with sexual discrimination. Things aren’t much better closer to home. A Hired report for last year’s Equal Pay Day revealed that the UK was the worst country surveyed for gender pay disparity.

Google has denied the accusations, taking to Twitter to insist that it has “closed the gender pay gap globally”.

The lawsuit against Google came after the company refused to hand over data relating to the job and salary history of its employees, claiming that the requests were “overbroad” and violated employee privacy.  

The DoL has asked the court to block any future business between Google and the government if it continues to resist an audit of employees’ salaries.

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