Google Accused of ‘Extreme’ Gender Discrimination Days After Claiming to Close Pay Gap

Sexism and discrimination in the tech industry is no secret. Women have shared explosive and disturbing accounts of sexual harassment and discrimination while working at Uber, Tinder, GitHub and Reddit, just to name a few. This is the toxic culture women often have to face if they even get into the tech industry, which is notoriously white and male.

To combat this negative image, tech companies have released public statements, diversity reports and pay statistics showing just how enormous the problem is but also how committed they are to fixing it. These companies set goals to hire more women and under-represented minorities and claim to have closed the pay gap†in order to fix the frat house culture in Silicon Valley. But how committed to equality are they really?

Not very, according to the Department of Labor.

Just after Equal Pay Day, when Google touted its success in closing the pay gap, the DoL accused the tech giant of “extreme” gender discrimination.

The DoL disagrees, and claims to have evidence suggesting the tech company violated federal employment laws with “systemic compensation disparities.”

“We found systemic compensation disparities against women pretty much across the entire workforce,” Janette Wipper, a DoL regional director, testified in court.

The evidence was discovered during an ongoing investigation for a lawsuit the DoL filed against Google in January to force the company to provide salary information. As a federal contractor, Google must allow the DoL to review company data and†ensure they’re complying with equal opportunity laws, but the company repeatedly refused to comply, violating the terms of their federal contract.

Google says they’ve already handed over “hundreds of thousands of records” and that the requests would reveal confidential information or violate employee privacy.

The DoL says they have evidence of pay disparities†but want earlier salary information to try to understand the root of the problem. According to Janet Herold, regional solicitor for the DoL, the department is looking for “additional information to ensure the accuracy of the department’s findings, because if the findings are confirmed, this is a troubling situation.”

Herold called the discrimination at Google “quite extreme, even in this industry.”

Google denies the allegations and says that according to their annual analysis, they have found no evidence of a gender pay gap. One of Google’s lawyers, Lisa Barnett Sween, calls the DoL’s requests a “fishing expedition.”

The evidence the DoL has cited includes a salary report from 2015, which means Google’s claims of current pay equality may still be accurate but they’ve been covered in a shroud of doubt.

Either way,†future claims from tech companies about equality will likely be met with greater skepticism thanks to this case. The alleged discrimination at Google is one more reason we should follow Iceland’s example and require proof of equal pay for everyone.

Photo Credit: Shawn Collins

51 comments

Marie W
Marie W10 months ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Marija M
Marija Mabout a year ago

tks

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Janis K
Janis Kabout a year ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Carl R
Carl Rabout a year ago

Thanks

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Jennifer H
Jennifer Habout a year ago

Google vs DoL. Interesting match up. Wonder what the facts are.

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Clare O'Beara
Clare Oabout a year ago

I wonder how many of their tax lawyers are female.

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Clare O'Beara
Clare Oabout a year ago

Thanks for keeping us informed.

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Clare O'Beara
Clare Oabout a year ago

Proof of equal pay would be good.

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Margie F
Margie FOURIEabout a year ago

They should pay on merit.

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Pat P
Pat Pabout a year ago

I knew it was bad, but not so horrible! The culture in this country wastes so much great talent, because of white male insecurity/false superiority causing pathetic discrimination in 2017! When is our society going to ever become grow up and become civilized. Unfortunately, with our present administration, the near future looks bleak for females of any age or ethnic group!

Google is no longer by Search Engine of Choice.

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