Google has agreed to pay over US$3.8 million to more than 5,500 current employees and job applicants at its facilities in California and Washington as part of making peace with the US Labour Department that alleged the search engine giant discriminated against certain employees.
A few months ago, the agency claimed that it had detected pay disparities affecting female employees in software engineering positions at its facilities in Mountain View, and in Seattle and Kirkland, Washington.
The hiring criteria for software engineering roles discriminated against Asian and female applicants, the agency argued.
“Pay discrimination remains a systemic problem. Employers must conduct regular pay equity audits to ensure that their compensation systems promote equal opportunity,” stated the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs Director Jenny R. Yang.
In its reply, Google owned up to what it called a systemic error. “We believe everyone should be paid based upon the work they do, not who they are,” reads the company’s statement on The Verge.
“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.”
As part of the agreement, Google will pay $1,353,052 in back pay and interest to 2,565 female employees in engineering positions, and $1,232,000 in back pay and interest to 1,757 female and 1,219 Asian applicants, who could not be hired for the positions.
More than anything else, Google has agreed with the agency to hire 51 female and 17 Asian applicants for software engineering roles.