Upon accusations from the US Department of Labor of paying men more than women for identical jobs, Google claims that obtaining wage data is too expensive and time-consuming.
Company representatives explained in court in San Francisco that the data request would cost $100k and require around 500 hours of work, but these numbers aren’t all that outrageous considering Google’s yearly profit of $28 billion. The heated discussion between the two parties was first sparked in January with Google’s federal law violations related to salary records.
In addition to the bits of pay information labor officials collected from 2015 that show a clear wage gap, the department requires older data and employee contact information to complete one-on-one interviews now that Google has shot down unequal pay accusations. The company claims global equal pay across all races and genders, and refuses to release wage information in fear of violating privacy rights of employees and amendment rights of businesses.
One conversation, however, revealed that men and women would receive raises in line with their initial salary regardless of the quality of work, indicating that women in starting positions making less than men in starting positions would rarely match their salaries as the jobs advance.
Google argues that collecting wage data and making appropriate salary changes requires many people across many different fields, while the Department of Labor points out that the company can invest copious amounts of time and money into other projects that aren’t legally necessary. Some claim that Google is trying to exempt itself from rules by hiding behind its size.
The gender wage gap appears to be existent in many Silicon Valley firms, though Google is the highest-ranking company to be accused of such in the last year. As the discussion continues, many hope the wage gap can be closed once and for all, at least for Google.