US Regulators Go After Google For Allegedly Underpaying Women

Investigators with the United States government are looking into how Google pays its employees, accusing the tech firm of paying women less than men. According to an official with the US Department of Labor disclosed that the agency’s allegation at a San Francisco court hearing, on Friday.

United States Labor Department regional director Janette Wipper testified, “We found systemic compensation disparities against women pretty much across the entire workforce.”

Of course, Google adamantly denies the charges, defending that they had not even heard of them until Wipper actually appeared in court and testified. In a statement, Google comments, “Every year, we do a comprehensive and robust analysis of pay across genders and we have found no gender pay gap.”

Now, Google is only one of several technology companies that have been trying to improve hiring practices; practices which have not had to compensate female employees before. Indeed, these jobs were traditionally filled by white men and Asian men. Alas, these efforts to strike a more gender-balanced workforce have not been all that successful.

As an example, less than 20 percent of Google’s technology jobs are presently held by women. In all, though, not even one-third of Google’s 70,000-strong workforce are female.

Thus, the Labor Department’s probe actually evolved out of an earlier lawsuit, filed in January. This lawsuit sought to regulate Google to conducting business with the federal government only if it complies with an audit over its employee-compensation records. Fortunately for Google, the company has turned over some of these requested records, though they have not forked over everything, withholding at least some information; information which the company believes will invade the privacy of Google’s workers.

As a matter of fact, Google stated: “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 Department of Labor hasn’t provided any data, or shared its methodology.”

All in all, it looks like the US Department of Labor is scrutinizing the whole of Silicon Valley for discriminatory pay and hiring patterns. For example, it was not too long ago that the US Department of Labor sued business software maker Oracle over allegations that the company routinely paid white male workers more than their female counterparts and their non-white counterparts, in comparable jobs.