American multinational tech company, Google, has reportedly agreed to pay a sum of $2.59 million to over 5,500 existing employees along with former job applicants under a settlement with the U.S. Department of Labor over alleged systemic discrimination pertaining to hiring and compensation. In addition, the company has agreed keep aside $250,000 annually for next five years for addressing the pay equity adjustments that might come up in future.
This sums up its financial commitment to $3.8 million, which apparently is miniscule amount for the tech giant, whose parent company Alphabet has a market cap of $1.28 trillion.
As per credible sources, this settlement follows the DOL’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP)’s audit over September 1, 2014 to August 31, 2017. The audit identified disparities in pay affecting female software engineers working at Mountain View, Seattle, and Kirkland offices of Google. The OFCCP also found differences in hiring rates disadvantaging female and Asian applicants for engineer role at Google’s offices across San Francisco, Kirkland, and Sunnyvale.
Under this settlement, the company has agreed to pay $1.35 million in back pay and interest to 2,565 of its existing female software engineers and $1.25 million in back pay and interest to 1,757 women and 1,219 Asian applicants of software engineering roles for which they were not appointed. Finally, the company will also set aside $1.25 million towards pay-equity adjustments for next five years for its U.S. engineers working at its offices in Kirkland, Mountain View, Seattle, and New York.
A Google spokesperson in this regard has stated that the company believes in paying based upon the individuals’ work and not upon who they are. The spokesperson also added that the company invests heavily for making hiring and compensation processes unbiased and since the last eight years, it has conducted annual internal analysis of pay equity for identifying and addressing discrepancies.
Meanwhile, Jane Suhr, Regional Director, OFCCP stated that the U.S. Department of Labor acknowledges the willingness of Google to participate in settlement discussions and reach early resolution. Although, technology industry is one of the largest and fastest growing employers in the region, the DOL remains determined to enforce laws regarding equal opportunity to ensure equity and non-discrimination in the workforce, regardless of the size of the workforce, Suhr added.