After a four-year investigation by the US Department of Labor, Google is paying more than $3.8 million to women and Asian job-seekers after allegations of “systemic” pay and hiring discrimination were revealed.
The payment will include up to $2.6 million in back pay to more than 5,500 current Google employees and job applicants from the company’s California and Washington state offices — where up to half of its engineers are based.
On Monday evening, the Department of Labor released a statement revealing that between 2014 to 2017, Google paid female engineers less than men in similar positions, and uncovered “hiring rate differences” that saw female and Asian applicants disadvantaged when applying for software engineering positions.
“During a routine compliance evaluation, the Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs identified pay disparities affecting female employees in software engineering positions at its facilities in Mountain View, and in Seattle and Kirkland, Washington,” the statement revealed.
“The agency also identified hiring rate differences that disadvantaged female and Asian applicants for software engineering positions.”
The statement also revealed that the tech giant denied all allegations it violated laws or regulations and did not admit to any wrongdoing.
The payment from Google will include more than $1.3 million to be paid over the next five years to 2,565 female employees in engineering positions who were allegedly subjected to pay discrimination and over $1.2 million to 1,757 women and 1,219 Asian applicants for software engineering positions who were not hired.
Jenny Yang, programs director at the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, said in a statement that pay discrimination remains a systemic problem.
“Employers must conduct regular pay equity audits to ensure that their compensation systems promote equal opportunity,” she said.
A Google spokesperson spoke to ABC News in the US and said in a statement the company is glad to resolve this issue and that it has completed yearly internal analysis of pay equity since 2012.
“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,” the spokesperson said.
“We’re pleased to have resolved this matter related to allegations from the 2014-2017 audits and remain committed to diversity and equity and to supporting our people in a way that allows them to do their best work.”
The settlement also requires Google to put in $250,000 each year for the next five years to cover any adjustments that are still needed in the future.
Last year, Google released its seventh diversity report, revealing that global hires of women dropped from 33.2% in 2018 to 32.5% a year later, and that only one-in-four women were employed in technical roles.