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Archived: Google Says Calculating Gender Pay Data Would Be Too Expensive

Calculating data to determine if a gender pay gap exists is too expensive of a project for Google, lawyers for the company said in court on Friday.


The cost About 500 hours of work and $100,000.

“This is obviously a very time-consuming and burdensome project,” said Lisa Barnett Sween, an attorney for Google.

Interestingly, the company claimed in April that it had successfully closed its gender pay gap globally and even provided a step-by-step guide for other companies to follow to do the same.

According to the company’s own most recent report cost should be a non-issue. Google ended the first quarter of 2017 with $24.75 billion in revenues, with Alphabet (Google’s parent company) CFO Ruth Porat boasting that “revenues [are] up 22% versus the first quarter of 2016 and 24% on a constant currency basis.”

Given the company’s sky-high profits, “Google would be able to absorb the cost as easy as a dry kitchen sponge could absorb a single drop of water,” said Labor Department attorney Ian Eliasoph.

The legal demand for the information came in January, when the Department of Labor filed a lawsuit against Google when it did not provide its pay information as part of a compliance evaluation.

Google is required to provide information about its pay history as part of evaluations because it is a federal contractor. But according to January’slawsuit, the company refused to produce its records even though the Labor Department “repeatedly attempted” to access them.

Google, which has never applied to participate in the DiversityInc Top 50 competition, has an astounding lack of diversity in its leadership ranks. According to its owndiversity data, women make up just 24 percent of leadership throughout the company. Ethnic diversity is also dismal, with leadership being 70 percent white, 25 percent Asian, 2 percent Black, 2 percent two or more races, 1 percent Hispanic and less than 1 percent “other.”

The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity, when expressed as a stock index, outperform the rest of the market, suggesting that good judgment in one area permeates throughout an organization.

Google’s defense team also claimed Friday that the company has already spent close to half a million dollars and dedicated 2,300 hours of time to fulfill the Department of Labor’s request for data.

According to Kristin Zmrhal, senior legal operations manager for Google, the extensive research and analysis at the demand of the government “became too burdensome” for the company.

Eliasoph noted that Google previously announced “with great public fanfare” that it was committing $150 million to diversity initiatives.

“Google cannot claim … that it now has no money to comply with a federal agency seeking to ensure compliance with equal opportunity laws on behalf of the public,” said Eliasoph.

He also shot down the notion that Google is too big to collect this data.

“Google takes routine requests and makes them sound onerous by emphasizing the number of people involved,” he said.

The Guardian reported on the lawsuit in April. According to the publication, a regional director with the Labor Department stated in court there are “systemic compensation disparities against women pretty much across the entire workforce.”

A Labor Department regional solicitor reported to The Guardian that there is “compelling evidence” against the tech giant, which has denied any wrongdoing.

“The government’s analysis at this point indicates that discrimination against women in Google is quite extreme, even in this industry,” Janet Herold, the regional solicitor, also said to the publication.

Google has encountered other problems this year regarding accountability. In March a boycott of Google and its platforms that began in the United Kingdom spread to the United States amid backlash due to advertisements appearing next to hateful and offensive content. At least 250 organizations have since reportedly withdrawn their advertisements from Google and its subsidiaries. (For most companies, ads will still appear in Google searches.)

The company came under fire for its proposed strategy that did not seem to go far enough to solve the problem.

Read more news @ DiversityInc.com

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