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Google denies US government's claims of 'systemic compensation disparities' between male and female employees


By Gillian West | Social media manager

April 8, 2017 | 3 min read

The US Department of Labour (DoL) claims it has evidence of “systemic compensation disparities” against female employees at Google.

As part of an ongoing investigation of Google, the government claims to have information suggesting the internet search giant has been violating federal employment laws with its salaries for women.

Testifying in court in San Francisco yesterday (Friday 7 April), DoL regional director, Janette Wipper, said: “We found systemic compensation disparities against women pretty much across the entire workforce…we want to understand what’s causing the disparity.”

Speaking to the Guardian, Janet Herold, regional solicitor for the DoL, commented that though the investigation was not compete, at this point, the department had “compelling evidence of very significant discrimination against women in the most common positions at Google headquarters.”

“The government’s analysis at this point indicated that discrimination against women in Google is quite extreme, even in this industry,” Herold added, commenting that the DoL was in the process of seeking additional information to ensure the accuracy of the department’s findings. “If the findings are confirmed, this is a troubling situation,” she said.

Google has denied the allegations which emerged at a federal court hearing in January seeking to compel the company to reveal its salary data and documents to the government.

As a federal contractor, Google is required to allow the DoL to inspect its records in accordance with equal opportunities laws. Last year, a compliance review requested job and salary information of Google employees, along with names and contact information. However, Google refused to hand over the data leading to the lawsuit.

After the suit was filed, Google claims it handed over “hundreds of thousands of records” to the government but said the requests outlined in the complaint were “overboard” and would reveal confidential information and/or violate employee privacy.

One of Google’s attorneys, Lisa Barnett Sween, commented in opening remarks at the hearing that the DoL’s request was a “fishing expedition that has absolutely no relevance to the compliance review.” Marc Pilotin, a DoL attorney, countered: “For some reason or another, Google wants to hide the pay-related information.”

Responding to the Guardian’s request for comment Google said it “vehemently disagrees” with the claim and that it carries out “comprehensive and robust analysis of pay across genders” every year finding no gender pay gap. “Other than making an unfounded statement which we heard for the first time in court, the DoL hasn’t provided any data, or shared its methodology.”

Recent claims from Google suggest it has 'closed' its gender pay gap globally and provides equal pay across races in the US.

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