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Google Is Dumbfounded By the Government’s Accusation That It Underpays Women

April 11, 2017, 2:00 PM UTC

Google on Tuesday issued a lengthy response to accusations by the United States Department of Labor that it pays women less than their male counterparts, expressing dumbfoundedness over the claims. “We were taken aback by this assertion, which came without any supporting data or methodology,” Eileen Naughton, vice president of people operations, wrote in a blog post denying the allegation.

In a San Francisco court on Friday, DOL regional director Janette Wipper said the government “found systemic compensation disparities against women pretty much across [Google’s] entire workforce.” Her claims are part of a lawsuit the DOL filed against Google in January, seeking access to the company’s compensation data and related personnel records. As a federal contractor, Google must permit the government to inspect records relevant to its compliance with equal opportunity laws. The DOL says Google has refused to comply with requests for the required information.

In her post, Naughton says the company has handed over “hundreds of thousands of documents” in response to 18 different requests and that the government issued its accusation of gender discrimination in pay even as it seeks more information, “including the contact details of our employees.”

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She also reiterated the company’s commitment to equal pay and detailed how it ensures pay parity:

In short, each year, we suggest an amount for every employee’s new compensation (consisting of base salary, bonus and equity) based on role, job level, job location as well as current and recent performance ratings. This suggested amount is “blind” to gender; the analysts who calculate the suggested amounts do not have access to employees’ gender data. An employee’s manager has limited discretion to adjust the suggested amount, providing they cite a legitimate adjustment rationale.

Our pay equity model then looks at employees in the same job categories, and analyzes their compensation to confirm that the adjusted amount shows no statistically significant differences between men’s and women’s compensation.

Late last year, Google’s analysis across 52 different, major job categories found no evidence of a gender pay gap, according to Naughton. The tech giant is so confident in its assessment that it recently expanded it to cover race in the U.S. and shared its methodology so other companies can examine their own pay practices.

Indeed, on Equal Pay Day on April 4, Google announced it had “closed the gender pay gap globally.” Wipper leveled her accusations three days later.

“We hope to work with [the DOL] to resolve this issue, and to help in its mission to improve equal pay across federal contractors,” Naughton wrote. “And we look forward to demonstrating the robustness of Google’s approach to equal pay.”