The US Department of Labor sued Google, claiming that the company was withholding information relevant to an ongoing compliance audit and says Google discriminates against female employees in pay at a level that's even worse than the tech industry as a whole.
The department has found "systemic compensation disparities against women pretty much across the entire workforce," Labor Department Regional Director Janette Wipper testified in a court in San Francisco on Friday, according to a report by The Guardian. Janet Herold, the department's regional solicitor, told the Guardian that pay discrimination against women was extreme.
On Friday, Janette Wipper, a DoL regional director, brought the above allegations to a San Francisco court. Romper has reached out to Google for comment on the matter and received the following statement:
We vehemently disagree with Ms. Wipper’s claim. Every year, we do a comprehensive and robust analysis of pay across genders and we have found 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.
Google has continuously refuted these statements, citing its work to actually reduce the gender pay gap. On Equal Pay Day, Google tweeted out its thorough suggestions for "designing and auditing fair pay practices" so as to achieve "more equitable workplaces."
Let’s make every day #EqualPayDay. All employers can take steps to eliminate the gender and race pay gaps, today â†’ https://t.co/KTuGTJMV16 pic.twitter.com/rBciSK21uF
– Google (@Google) April 4, 2017
Due to Google's resistance to "share the requested compensation data and documents" with the DoJ, the government organization has in turn "requested that the government cancel its contracts with the company and block them from future government work." Until the investigation is concluded, though, it appears that for now, it's just Google's word against the DoL's.
Wipper's seeking more information from Google is, in her terms, an effort to fully comprehend the scope of Google's alleged pay difference; “We want to understand what’s causing the disparity," she shared with The Guardian. If Google's history of equal pay activism is any indication, though, the company would want to correct any disparity, should it exist. But until these claims are founded, and supported by data, little can be done.
The DoL outlined that Google isn’t burdened by its request, nor is complying interrupting its business. The agency pointed to Google’s own policies and internal Affirmative Action Plan, saying that “Google created much of the burden about which it now complains,” as well as the fact that it’s devoted $150 million to address diversity issues. The agency also noted that the amount of business that Google does with the federal government is irrelevant when it comes to compliance with the federal order: more business doesn’t mean that the bar for an audit is raised. Furthermore, the OFCCP says that it had offered to bear the cost of compiling the information.
Source: The Guardian and The Verge