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Home Tech Google says U.S. suit is wrong — it pays women fairly

Google says U.S. suit is wrong — it pays women fairly

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The U.S. Department of Labor says there’s an “extreme” discrimination problem at hand, but Google denies that.
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SAN FRANCISCO — Google says it’s “taken aback” by the Labor Department’s claim it doesn’t fairly compensate women.

The Internet giant says it conducts robust scientific analysis to ensure there is no gender pay gap.

“It’s very important to us that men and women who join Google in the same role are compensated on a level playing field, when they start and throughout their careers here,” Eileen Naughton, Google’s vice president of people operations said in a blog post.

An ongoing Department of Labor investigation found that Google systematically pays women less than men, according to department officials. The alleged pay gap was uncovered during a routine audit of Google which, as a federal contractor, is barred from discriminating against employees.

The Labor Department is suing Google to force the disclosure of additional compensation data needed for its investigation.

At a procedural hearing before a federal administrative law judge in San Francisco on Friday, Labor Department Regional Director Janette Wipper said the agency had evidence of “systemic compensation disparities,” according to the Guardian newspaper.

Google parent Alphabet is facing a gender pay equity shareholder resolution from activist investor Arjuna Capital at its annual meeting on June 7.

“Investors’ long-term wealth is under threat when companies flout the rules on how women are treated in the workplace,” Natasha Lamb, managing director of Arjuna Capital, said in a statement.

The Labor Department has become more aggressive in enforcement of Silicon Valley tech companies as they face growing pressure to increase diversity across the industry, which is dominated by white and Asian men. In recent years, major technology companies have begun to make public commitments to hire more women and underrepresented minorities, but progress has been slow. The federal government has taken aim at the hiring and compensation practices at Oracle and Palantir.

Google has positioned itself at the forefront of the push for greater gender and ethnic diversity. In 2015, a former Google employee alleged a pattern of pay inequity, a charge the company denied.

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