Google denies Labor Department’s pay disparity allegations
Alphabet Inc.’s Google denied Department of Labor allegations that an in-progress investigation suggests “systemic compensation disparities against women” at the internet giant.
“Every year, we do a comprehensive and robust analysis of pay across genders and we have found no gender pay gap,” Google said in an emailed statement Sunday. “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 Guardian reported that Labor Department regional director Janette Wipper testified in San Francisco court Friday that the pay disparities against women appear to be found “pretty much across the entire workforce” at the tech company. The investigation isn’t complete but the department has received compelling evidence of “significant discrimination,” the Guardian reported, citing the Labor Department’s regional solicitor, Janet Herold.
The allegations come at a time when Silicon Valley is under the microscope like never before for reports of discrimination against women. Uber Technologies Inc. has been investigating claims of sexual harassment from a former engineer, while investors across the tech world are wondering how to transform both start-ups and more established digital companies into more egalitarian workplaces.
The testimony couldn’t be immediately confirmed from court records. Representatives of the Labor Department in San Francisco didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment on Sunday.
The department sued Google in January, alleging the company had failed to turn over compensation data and documents as part of a routine compliance evaluation. Google is required to let the government inspect records for an audit because it’s a federal contractor, according to the Labor Department.
Google already has turned over 1.8 million data points and spent more than $500,000 to comply with the requests, including having its engineers build a new tool to extract information from its databases, said Lisa Barnett Sween, litigation manager with Jackson Lewis P.C. in San Francisco, representing Google.
A Department of Labor administrative law judge in San Francisco on Friday granted Google’s request for a preliminary protective order on its salary data. Google, like many Silicon Valley companies, fiercely guards compensation used to lure and retain employees.
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