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Google accused of systemic pay discrimination by US Department of Labour

Google has come under fire in the last few months, as the US Department of Labour seeks to prove that it systematically pays the women in its workforce less than men.

In January, the DoL filed a lawsuit against the company, requesting that it release its salary data and documents to the government. And on Friday, the Department testified in court that it had significant evidence that proves Google is underpaying its female staff.

“The investigation is not complete,” Janet Herold, a DoL regional director, told The Guardian, “but at this point the department has received compelling evidence of very significant discrimination against women in the most common positions at Google headquarters.”

She adds that Google’s discrimination against women is “quite extreme, even in this industry.”

Herald is referring to the infamous discrimination against women in the STEM fields. In the US, women fill out 50% of all jobs, but only 25% of STEM jobs. Even when acquiring STEM degrees, women are less likely to acquire a job in the field than their male peers. And when they do get a job in the field, they are paid substantially less than men.

‘The department has received compelling evidence of very significant discrimination against women in the most common positions at Google headquarters’

Google has consistently touted its goal of closing all gender and race pay gaps in its workplace, and last week tweeted that it had eliminated the gap altogether.

The company is refusing to hand over the data the Department is requesting, claiming it has no need as it publishes thorough reviews every year.

“Every year, we do a comprehensive and robust analysis of pay across genders and we have found no gender pay gap,” read a statement to The Guardian. “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.”

The company also argued that the data sought would reveal confidential information, and violated employees’ privacy.

Herold claimed the Department required additional information than what Google has already disclosed so as to fully back up its findings.

Featured image: Eduardo Woo via Flickr (CC 2.0, edited)

Author | Julia Breakey

Julia Breakey
Julia is a UCT film graduate with a passion for dogs, media, and dog-centric media. If she's not gushing about the new television show that you need to watch, she's rewatching The Good Place (which you need to watch). More

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