Google reaches $3.8 million settlement over pay, hiring discrimination allegations

Antitrust lawsuits against Google portray the ‘evil’ company its founders once cautioned against

Google must pay more than $3.8 million to settle allegations that it systematically discriminated against female and Asian engineering employees and applicants in pay and hiring, the U.S. Department of Labor announced Monday.

Under the early-resolution conciliation agreement (ERCA) dated Jan. 15, Google agreed to pay more than $1.35 million to 2,565 female employees in engineering positions. If divided evenly, that amounts to about $526 each. It must pay more than $1.23 million to 1,757 female and 1,219 Asian job applicants, which works out to about $413 each if distributed evenly. The company will also set aside $1.25 million for pay-equity adjustments for the next five years at its Mountain View, Calif., and Kirkland, Wash., locations.

The settlement addresses just one of a number of allegations of pay discrimination by the tech giant, which has been sued over the issue in different jurisdictions in the past several years.

In this case, the two sides reached a settlement after what the Labor Department said was a “routine compliance evaluation” that found pay disparities among female engineers in the tech giant’s offices in Mountain View, Seattle and Kirkland. That evaluation also discovered “hiring rate differences that disadvantaged female and Asian applicants for software engineering positions” at the company’s locations in San Francisco, Sunnyvale, Calif., and in Kirkland.   

Google denies any violations but a spokeswoman said Monday that “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.”

Under the settlement, the Labor Department will not audit 39 Google locations for the next five years provided the company adheres to the agreed conditions, including reviewing its hiring and pay policies and taking action to avoid discrimination. The company must submit annual progress reports to the department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs.

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