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Google to pay $3.8m to settle lawsuit over discrimination against female and Asian engineers

Written by on 02/02/2021

Google has reached a $3.8m (£2.8m) settlement with the US Department of Labor over “systemic compensation and hiring discrimination” affecting more than 5,500 female and Asian workers.

The case against Google was brought after federal contract monitors discovered pay disparities affecting female software engineers “during a routine compliance evaluation”.

As part of the settlement the company will pay more than $1.3m (£950,000) in back pay and interest to 2,565 female engineers, and more than $1.2m (£880,000) to 1,757 female and 1,219 Asian applicants who were not hired.

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Google walk out over treatment of women amid sexual misconduct claims

It follows Google employees at offices around the world staging a walkout in 2018 over the treatment of women at the company after sexual misconduct claims were made against several senior figures.

The protest – dubbed Walkout For Real Change – was organised a week after The New York Times published a number of allegations surrounding high-profile workers at the technology giant.

Meredith Whittaker, one of the Google employees who led the global walkouts, left the company a year later amid allegations of a fallout against the protest’s organisers.

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Google has been accused of attempting to prevent its workers from organising. In 2019 it fired four employees over Thanksgiving, with supporters of the dismissed staff complaining that they were fired because of their support for protests at the company.

That came as Google hired an anti-union firm called IRI Consultants to advise the company’s management on dealing with the growing number of protests at the company.

As part of the pay discrimination lawsuit which has been settled this week, Google is also committing to a $1.2m (£880,000) cash reserve in pay-equity adjustments for the next five years for software engineers.

The back pay amounts to less than $530 (£388) per employee, and $414 (£303) in restitution for the women and Asian software engineering applications who were not hired on a discriminatory basis.

“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 said 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.”

 Sky News

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