Google settles federal gender and race discrimination charges for $3.8M
February 2, 2021
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A large Google logo is displayed amidst foliage.

Google has agreed to a $3.8 million settlement with federal regulators to settle allegations that it both underpaid women software engineers and unfairly passed over women and Asian candidates for software engineering roles.

The settlement breaks down into three pools, the US Department of Labor announced Monday. As part of the agreement, about 2,500 women who currently work in engineering positions for Google will receive a total of $1.35 million, or about $527 per employee.

An additional $1.23 million in back pay, about $414 per person, will go to a pool of just under 3,000 applicants for “software engineering positions not hired.” The remaining $1.25 million is reserved for salary adjustments for employees currently working as software engineers based out of Google’s offices in California, New York, and Washington state.

“Pay discrimination remains a systemic problem. Employers must conduct regular pay equity audits to ensure that their compensation systems promote equal opportunity,” Jenny R. Yang, director of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, said when announcing the settlement.

The settlement covers the period from 2014 through 2017; the DOL discovered the discrepancies during routine audits that companies that work as federal contractors or suppliers regularly go through.

“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. “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.”

The agreement with the Labor Department is separate from the class-action suit that women who worked for Google filed in 2017 alleging Google discriminated against women employees both in job placement and pay. It is also unrelated to the shareholder lawsuits Google settled last year relating to its handling of sexual harassment allegations inside the company.

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