Google has been accused of having an ‘extreme’ gender pay gap across the entire company and is under investigation.
The internet search giant has been accused of violating federal employment laws by the US Department of Labour (DoL). The DoL claim Google is guilty of not paying its female employees as much as men. Google have strongly denied the accusations.
Janette Wipper, a DoL regional director, testified in court in San Francisco on Friday and said: “We found systemic compensation disparities against women pretty much across the entire workforce”.
Google released a statement on Twitter to defend itself. It claims that they have closed the gender pay gap globally.
[twitter] https://twitter.com/Google/status/849247401110097920 [/twitter]
The DoL’s regional solicitor Janet Herold said the agency has “received compelling evidence of very significant discrimination against women in the most common positions at Google headquarters”.
The search giant called the government investigation a “fishing expedition” and have criticised the government for not revealing how they collected the data.
Google employs around 70,0000 people. Only 24 per cent of leadership roles were held by women last year and women represented a mere 31 per cent of the Google workforce.
For several years, Google has publicly released its diversity data in an annual report which consistently shows a lack of women and minorities at the top of the business.
Google is required to comply with a government investigation because it is a federal contractor. It must hand over records for inspection on its compliance with equal opportunity laws. Google has refused to hand over the requested data and claims that the demands breach confidential information and employees privacy.
The investigation is not the first of its kind for the the tech industry. In January this year the DoL launched a lawsuit against Oracle which claimed that white male workers earned more than their email and non-white counterparts for similar work.
In the UK businesses are under increasing pressure to share data on pay equality. From April next year voluntary, private and public organisations with 250 or more employees will have to reveal any gender pay discrepancies. This is due to new regulations being introduced in the UK which will affect almost 9,000 firms employing more than 15 million people. The Office for National Statistics currently estimates the national pay gap to stand at 18.1 per cent.