The US Labor Department says it has evidence that Google systematically pays its male employees more than its female employees.
We already know that diversity and pay disparity are problems in Silicon Valley. The government sued tech behemoth Oracle over pay discrimination and hiring practices in January, and last September it sued data analytics company Palantir over allegedly discriminating against Asian applicants. Microsoft was sued in 2016 by a former employee alleging systemic discrimination in pay between men and women and preferential treatment given to men in promotions and job reviews. Uber has also been accused of creating a sexist work environment. The Financial Times reports that only 18.3 percent of tech roles at ten leading tech companies are held by women.
These new claims suggest that the situation is particularly dire at Google. Janet Herold, regional solicitor for the Department of Labor told the Guardian Friday: “The government’s analysis at this point indicates that discrimination against women in Google is quite extreme, even in this industry.”
Google has been releasing diversity statistics since 2014, and they don’t make the company look good. Last year, they reported that women made up 31 percent of its overall workforce — and 19 percent of its tech workforce — and that only 3 percent were Latino and 2 percent were black.
Google has strongly denied claims that it has a pay gap problem. The company tweeted that it has “closed the gender pay gap globally,” and, in a statement issued to the Guardian, said that they “vehemently disagree” with the claims.
The allegations that Google pays women less than men came to light during a hearing in a lawsuit, brought by the Department of Labor, that seeks to force Google to provide salary and employment data to the government. The Labor Department argues that Google, as a federal contractor, is required to provide the data.
So far, Google has repeatedly refused to turn over the data, and the Labor Department’s lawyers are asking the courts to terminate all government contracts with Google and prevent the company from doing business with them in the future if they don’t comply with the audit.