The US Department of Labor has reached a settlement with Google to resolve allegations of systemic gender and race discrimination with the tech giant ordered to pay $3.84 million (£2.8m) to more than 5,500 employees and unsuccessful job applicants.
In 2017 when the pay and recruitment discrimination first emerged, Google strongly denied the accusations of bias, claiming it did not have a gender pay gap.
During routine compliance checks relating to Google’s supply of technology to the federal government, the department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) identified pay disparities affecting female employees in software engineering positions at its offices in Silicon Valley and Seattle.
Discrimination in the US
The OFCCP also identified hiring rate differences that discriminated against female and Asian applicants for software engineering positions.
“Pay discrimination remains a systemic problem. Employers must conduct regular pay equity audits to ensure that their compensation systems promote equal opportunity,” said OFCCP director Jenny R Yang yesterday.
OFCCP regional director for San Francisco, Jane Suhr, added: “The technology industry continues to be one of the region’s largest and fastest growing employers. Regardless of how complex or the size of the workforce, we remain committed to enforcing equal opportunity laws to ensure non-discrimination and equity in the workforce.”
Google agreed to pay $1.35 million in back pay and interest to 2,565 female employees in engineering positions subject to pay discrimination and $1.23 million in back pay and interest to 1,757 female and 1,219 Asian software engineering applicants it did not hire.
It also committed to create a cash reserve of least $1.25 million in “pay-equity adjustments” for the next five years for engineering employees in three US locations.
In a statement, Google said: “We believe everyone should be paid based upon the work they do, not who they are, and invest heavily to make our hiring and compensation processes fair and unbiased.”