Published: Sun, April 09, 2017
Economy | By Melissa Porter

U.S. labour department accuses Google of 'extreme' gender pay discrimination

U.S. labour department accuses Google of 'extreme' gender pay discrimination

Despite Google's claims that it had managed to close the gender-pay gap globally, the U.S. labor department today testified against the company in court, alleging that there were systematic pay inequities at the company.

The Labor Department found compensation disparities that appeared systematic against women almost across the complete workforce, said Janette Wipper a Regional Director of the Labor Department in testimony on Friday in a San Francisco court.

Herold went on to call the discrimination against women at the tech giant "quite extreme, even in this industry". "If the findings are confirmed, this is a troubling situation", she said.

The Labor Department said its recent gender gap probe stemmed from a January lawsuit that sought to top Google from doing business with the federal government until it complied with an audit of its employee compensation records.

On Tuesday, Google celebrated Equal Pay Day with a byline under the normal search bar that read, "Google supports equal pay".

The Labor Department is now scrutinizing Silicon Valley for patterns of pay and hiring discrimination under its powers to vet companies that bid for lucrative government contracts.

"Every year, we do a comprehensive and robust analysis of pay across genders and we have found no gender pay gap", the statement read.

In a statement, Google said it has provided most of its records, but has rebuffed some of the agency's demands as "over broad" and an invasion of employee privacy. "Despite many opportunities to produce this information voluntarily, Google has refused to do so".

The company, subject to federal action because it accepts US government contracts, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on its alleged resistance to handing over compensation data to the department.

At the court hearing today, Lisa Barnett Sween, one of Google's lawyers, said the DoL's request is unconstitutional, The Guardian reports, calling it a "fishing expedition that has absolutely no relevance to the compliance review".

Last year, women represented just 31 percent of Google's workforce, and held just 24 percent of leadership roles.

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