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Google pays over $3 million to underpaid female employees and Asian applicants who faced discrimination

The US labour department identified hiring rate differences that disadvantaged female and Asian applicants for software engineering positions at Google. Google is paying over $3 million to settle the allegations.

twitter-logoIndia Today Tech | February 2, 2021 | Updated 13:07 IST
(Picture: Reuters)

Highlights

  • The US labour department noted pay disparities affecting female employees in software engineering positions.
  • As part of the settlement, Google will pay over $3 million to resolve the allegations.
  • As per the department, Google will allocate a cash reserve of at least $1,250,000 for the next 5 years for US employees in engineering positions.

The US labour department and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) noted pay disparities affecting female employees in software engineering positions at its facilities in Mountain View, and in Seattle and Kirkland, Washington. It further identified "hiring rate differences that disadvantaged female and Asian applicants for software engineering positions at Google's locations in San Francisco and Sunnyvale, and in Kirkland."


As part of the settlement, Google will pay over $3 million to resolve the allegations. The tech giant will pay $1,353,052 in back pay and interest to 2,565 female employees in engineering positions subject to pay discrimination, and $1,232,000 in back pay and interest to 1,757 female and 1,219 Asian applicants for software engineering positions not hired, as per the OFCCP. The US Department of labour also noted that Google will allocate a cash reserve of at least $1,250,000 in pay-equity adjustments for the next 5 years for US employees in engineering positions.

"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," a Google spokeswoman said in response to an AFP inquiry. As part of the settlement, Google has agreed to review its policies, procedures, and practices related to hiring and compensation, according to the labor department. The internet giant will let employees use courts instead of private arbitration to resolve disputes over treatment.

"Pay discrimination remains a systemic problem," Jenny Yang, the head of the office of federal contract compliance programs, said in a release. "Employers must conduct regular pay equity audits to ensure that their compensation systems promote equal opportunity."
The agency also said that it uncovered "hiring rate differences" that put female and Asian applicants at disadvantages for software engineering positions.

In 2018, over 20,000 Google employees and contractors participated in the mass global walkout to protest the company's handling of sexual harassment allegations against top executives. The walkout of 2018 was sparked by an investigation from The New York Times that revealed how Android co-founder Andy Rubin was paid $90 million upon his exit from the company after it learned of a sexual assault allegation against him.

The lawsuit argued that Alphabet's board and senior executives improperly awarded multi-million-dollar severance packages to several male executives accused of sexually harassing female employees, even after internal investigations found the accusations to be credible. Earlier this year, roughly 230 employees and contractors formed a minority union, The Verge reported. The organization, the Alphabet Workers Union (AWU) reportedly has more than 800 members.

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