By Manasi Nene
Google has been accused of paying men more than women – but it won’t release its records. Why? Because it was apparently “financially burdensome” and “logistically challenging” to compile salary record.
Google, one of the biggest tech companies today, has been accused by the US Government’s Department of Labor (DoL) of paying men more than women, for the same kind of work done. Google denies this, saying they’re committed to diversity and equality.
Google invoked the Fourth Amendment, a provision that safeguards against unlawful searches. According to Google, the DoL’s request was too wide-reaching, and disclosing it would endanger their employees’ privacy and safety. But the DoL, apparently, has evidence of “systematic compensation disparities”, and isn’t backing down.
Google is a legally a federal contractor, which means that the Department of Labor is allowed to inspect its records, and Google cannot refuse any request to do so. Now fighting it out in court, both the DoL and Google are slowly turning this into a battle of public relations. The Guardian reports that Google has actively been trying to hide reports of this case. Since lawyers from the DoL spoke to the Guardian about the issue, Google is trying to get the whole case dismissed, claiming that the DoL-Guardian conversation jeopardized any attempts at fairness in court.
The court threw this motion out, and the investigation at Google continues.
This isn’t the first big tech company to have its dirty laundry aired in public – previously, the Department of Labor has been involved in similar cases against tech companies Oracle and Palantir. Palantir, a data analytics company has been accused of being biased against Asian applicants; and Oracle, a database-management system, has been accused of paying its women less than it pays its men.
Google claims that it does a “comprehensive and robust” analysis of pay across genders, and has found no gender pay gap. However, by refusing and independent audit, it just makes things worse for itself. If it has nothing to hide, why hide salary records? The DoL has asked the court to cancel all of Google’s federal contracts, and block any future business with the government. Though it has released its diversity statistics, it still needs to up its game.