Google must provide a snapshot of its 2014 pay records to the government, as well as the contact information for 8,000 employees, a judge ruled last Friday [14 July]. The decision is part of an ongoing case against the technology giant, in which the US Department of Labor (DoL) has accused it of systematically discriminating against women.
The DoL first accused Google of pay discrimination in April, after a preliminary investigation found women working at Google are paid less than men. As the company has contracts with the federal government, it is required to allow the DoL to review internal records to ensure its compliance with equal opportunity laws.
Google provided insight into its salaries for 2015, but refused to honour the DoL’s request for compensation history and contact information for 25,000 staff, arguing it went beyond the scope of what was relevant and posed unnecessary risks to employees’ privacy.
The latest decision seems to be a middle way, with both the DoL and Google expressing their approval of the decision.
"This decision finally secures the information necessary from Google for the government to continue its investigation," Janet Herold, DoL regional solicitor, said in an interview with The Guardian on Monday.
"It’s not enough for Google to say it’s committed to gender pay equity or other diversity initiatives," she said. "It is our job to see whether what they say they are doing is what they are actually doing."
Google has always denied accusations of pay discrimination. Responding to the decision in a blog post, Eileen Naughton, VP of people operations at Google, repeated that stance.
"Our own annual analysis shows no gender pay gap at Google. We’ve shared our methodology publicly. And we appreciate the decision’s recognition that our compensation policies and practices are ‘intricately designed to bring people on the same job with the same job performance rating to the same salary over time'," she wrote.
She added: "While we're pleased with Friday’s recommended decision, we remain committed to treating, and paying, people fairly and without bias with regard to factors like gender or race."
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