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Google Accused of 'Systemic' Gender Pay Discrimination by Labor Department

The discrimination "is quite extreme," even for a tech company, according to a report published last week.

REUTERS

The Department of Labor has accused Google of severely discriminating against its female employees by paying them considerably less than their male counterparts, a report from The Guardian reveals.


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."

The Labor Department filed a lawsuit against Google in January after the company did not provide its pay information as part of a compliance evaluation.

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.

Herold added that "if the findings are confirmed, this is a troubling situation."

According to The Guardian Janette Wipper, the regional director, noticed unequal wages in Google's 2015 data and needed further information to trace the gap's source.

"We want to understand what's causing the disparity," Wipper said.

Per the lawsuit, if Google continues to withhold its information, its federal contracts will be canceled, and Google and all of its divisions will be unable to enter government contracts and subcontracts until the data is provided.

The Guardian's report came out just three days after Google tweeted out advice on how other companies could close their own gender pay gaps, alleging that one does not exist among its workforce.

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 own diversity 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 is required to provide information about its pay history as part of evaluations because it is a federal contractor. But according to January's lawsuit, the company refused to produce its records even though the Labor Department "repeatedly attempted" to access them.

"Like other federal contractors, Google has a legal obligation to provide relevant information requested in the course of a routine compliance evaluation," said Thomas M. Dowd, acting director of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), in a news release regarding the suit. "Despite many opportunities to produce this information voluntarily, Google has refused to do so. We filed this lawsuit so we can obtain the information we need to complete our evaluation."

In early January a Google spokesperson reported to Reuters that the company did provide the government with data but that some requests were "overbroad in scope, or [would] reveal confidential data."

However, the lawsuit states that "as of the date of this Complaint, Google has persisted in its refusal to produce the Subject Items."

On March 15 a judge denied the Labor Department's request for a summary judgment, which would have compelled Google to turn over its data without going forward with a trial, because it did not specify clearly enough what information the audit required. According to the ruling, "OFCCP must determine what information it wants and describe it with sufficient specificity for OFCCP to know what it must do to comply."

"OFCCP could also ask Google to prepare a list of factors it considers when setting compensation," a judge added. "But Google is not required to anticipate what OFCCP might someday conclude is 'related to compensation' and therefore should have been produced."

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.

"They're saying they're trying harder — that's insufficient," said media analyst for Pivotal Research Group Brian Wieser. "They don't seem to understand the scale of the perceived problem."

Read more news @ DiversityInc.com

MeToo: Google Employees Walked Out By the Thousands

Outrage over Andy Rubin's $90 million payout questioned company core values and diversity.

TWITTER

A recent New York Times report that said Google gave millions of dollars to some executives, like Andy Rubin ($90 million) in secret exit packages after they were accused of sexual misconduct.

The report sparked outrage among employees who organized via social media and yesterday walked out of offices around the world by the thousands.

Zurich, Dublin, Singapore, London and Hyderabad, India, and multiple U.S offices participated in the Google Walkout For Real Change.

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Serena Williams Tells Women to 'Be Seen, Be Heard'

The tennis pro talked to women about empowerment and equality.

TWITTER

Wearing a T-shirt with the statement "Be Seen, Be Heard," Serena Williams spoke at a conference Friday afternoon in Philadelphia, offering a message consistent with the tennis pro's battles in her professional life.

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Landlords Can Use Facebook to Discriminate Against Black People, Violates Fair Housing Act

"When Facebook uses the vast amount of personal data it collects to help advertisers to discriminate, it's the same as slamming the door in someone's face," said Anna María Farías of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

REUTERS

Along with Facebook allowing Russia to interfere in the 2016 presidential election, the social media company has created a space for property owners to discriminate against people of color, and the federal government had to step in.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has filed a new complaint against Facebook alleging it allows property owners and sellers to violate the Fair Housing Act.

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REPORT: The Justice Department is a Diversity Disaster

A report released yesterday shows gender discrimination, harassment, macho culture and intimidation are rampant.

REUTERS

The Inspector General's review of the ATF, DEA, FBI and U.S. Marshals Service showed low percentages of female representation in leadership and promotions, underreporting of discrimination and harassment due to fear of retaliation and men who thought gender equity was "just fine."

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Pay Gap Persists for Women with Advanced Degrees

During a KPMG event, Constance Hunter, the company's first chief economist, explained how the gender pay gap could be even more profound for women in high-skilled positions.

From left to right: Constance Hunter, Kelly Watson, Irene Chang Britt, Nicola Palmer and Sylvia Pozezanac at KPMG's "Women and the Economy" event. / KPMG

Wage disparities between men and women while on the job and during retirement were topics discussed at KPMG's (No. 11 on the DiversityInc Top 50 Companies list) conference, "Women and the Economy."

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Apple's Head of Diversity Apologizes for Saying '12 White, Blue-Eyed Blond Men in a Room' Are Diverse

Denise Young Smith said she gets frustrated when the term diversity is only "tagged to the people of color, or the women, or the LGBT."

Denise Young Smith

As the representation of Blacks, Latinos and women in Silicon Valley continues to move at a snail's pace, Denise Young Smith, Apple's vice president of inclusion and diversity, offered that "12 white, blue-eyed, blond men in a room" equates to diversity.

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