Google: We're not biased against women and these details on pay prove it

Google denies claims by the US government that it systematically underpays female staff.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Google has revealed the methodology it uses to ensure there's no gender bias in its pay rates.

Image: Google

Google says its suggested pay for each worker is "blind" to gender and denies Department of Labor claims that it systemically underpays female staff.

The company has now gone to the length of releasing its methodology for calculating each employee's new compensation in response to the DoL's claims in a federal court on Friday that it found "systematic disparities against women pretty much across the entire workforce".

Google says the suggested compensation for new workers is based on "role, job level, job location as well as current and recent performance reviews".

The analysts who calculate the suggested amount are "blind to gender", meaning they don't have access to employees' gender data, according to Google.

Managers can adjust the suggested amount but need to explain what the justification for that variance is.

Google then follows four steps to compare employees in the same job categories and confirm that the adjusted amount doesn't contain statistically significant differences between men's and women's compensation.

"The fact is that our annual analysis is extremely scientific and robust. It relies on the same confidence interval that is used in medical testing (>95 percent)," said Eileen Naughton, Google's vice president for people operations.

"Our analysis gives us confidence that there is no gender pay gap at Google. In fact, we recently expanded the analysis to cover race in the US," she added.

The DoL filed a lawsuit against Google in January aiming to force it to hand over job and salary history for Google employees, as well as names and contact information. The inspection was part of a review of Google's compliance with equal-opportunity laws.

As a federal contractor, Google is obliged to allow the DoL to inspect these records, but the DoL has accused the company of withholding data.

The agency is requesting that the court cancels all Google's government contracts and block future opportunities with the government if it doesn't comply with the audit.

Janette Wipper, a DoL regional director, said on Friday that the agency found pay disparities in a 2015 snapshot of salaries and needed earlier data to evaluate the root of the problem.

According to the complaint, the DoL wants to compare snapshots of Google salaries between September 2015 and September 2014. It has received the 2015 snapshot but not the 2014 snapshot.

The 2014 snapshot needs to show starting details about employees' salary, position, job code, job family, job level, and organization, as well as any changes to these metrics. It also wanted contact information for employees in the 2015 and 2014 snapshots.

Google's lawyer labeled the DoL's request for information a "fishing expedition".

Read more on Google

Editorial standards