Google has agreed to spend $3.8 million — a negligible amount for a company worth over $1 trillion — to settle systemic compensation and hiring discrimination allegations by the US Department of Labor. The agency’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs discovered the pay and offer disparities when it conducted a routine compliance audit on the company a few years ago.
It found that the tech giant underpaid female software engineers at its Mountain View and Washington offices from 2014 and 2017. The office also discovered that female and Asian software engineering applicants in Google’s San Francisco, Sunnyvale and Kirkland locations were offered lower hiring rates during the year that ended on August 31st, 2017.
The DOL has announced the resolution on its website, where it explained the terms of their agreement. Google will pay $1.35 million out of the total amount in back pay and interest to 2,565 female engineers, giving them around $528 each. Meanwhile, it will pay the 1,757 female and 1,219 Asian software engineering applicants affected who weren’t hired by the company a total of $1.23 million. The rest ($1.25 million) will be set aside for pay-equity adjustments over the next five years for engineers in the US, particularly in the locations the DOL identified in its investigation. Google will also have to review its policies and practices related to hiring and compensation, as well as take corrective action to ensure non-discrimination.
Google faced a number of gender pay gap accusations in the past, but in a post talking about its annual pay equity study in 2019, the company said it shelled out $9.7 million to narrow pay gaps. The tech giant told TechCrunch in a statement that it’s pleased to have finally resolved the issue:
“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. For the past eight years, we have run annual internal pay equity analysis to identify and address any discrepancies. We’re pleased to have resolved this matter related to allegations from the 2014-2017 audits and remain committed to diversity and equity and to supporting our people in a way that allows them to do their best work.”
Jane Suhr, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs Regional Director for San Francisco, said:
“The U.S. Department of Labor acknowledges Google’s willingness to engage in settlement discussions and reach an early resolution. 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.”