- Google will pay $2.6 million to settle racial and gender-bias claims, the US Department of Labor said Monday.
- Google reached the agreement with after a DOL audit found “preliminary” evidence of bias.
- Google has faced lawsuits before over claims it discriminates against women and people of color.
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Google has reached a deal with the US Department of Labor, requiring it to pay nearly $2.6 million in back wages to thousands of workers over claims that the company’s pay and hiring practices illegally disadvantaged women and Asians.
Google must also review its pay and hiring practices, conduct a gender pay equity study, and provide updates about its progress toward closing the gender pay gap as part of the deal, which was signed on January 15 and made public by the DOL on Monday.
The department said that as part of an audit of several Google locations in Washington state, California, and New York, it had identified “preliminary indicators” that Google had failed to comply with a 1965 executive order that bars discrimination in the pay and hiring of federal contractors.
That audit revealed early evidence suggesting that, between 2014 and 2017, Google had paid female engineers at its Mountain View, California, as well as Seattle and Kirkland, Washington, locations “less than comparable male employees,” according to the DOL.
The agency also found evidence suggesting Google had discriminated against female and Asian applicants for engineering jobs at its San Francisco and Sunnyvale, California, locations as well as at the Kirkland facility.
“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,” Google spokesperson Jennifer Rodstrom told Insider in a statement.
“For the past eight years, we have run annual internal pay equity analysis to identify and address any discrepancies. 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,” Rodstrom added.
In total, around 2,565 women who worked at Google are eligible for back pay over wage discrimination allegations, while around 2,976 women and Asian applicants for Google jobs are eligible for back pay as a result of the alleged hiring discrimination.
In return for agreeing to the DOL’s “early resolution,” Google won’t have 39 of its facilities audited by the agency for five years, though the agency can still bring legal action if Google violates the agreement.
Google has faced allegations of racial and gender bias previously, including an ongoing class-action lawsuit over gender bias claims, and more recently, an employee rebellion over the company’s dismissal of AI ethics researcher Timnit Gebru.