Google says its analysis disproves the US government's claim that it systematically underpays female employees

Eileen NaughtonGoogleEileen Naughton

Google is once again challenging the US Department of Labour’s claim that it systematically underpays women — and has released information about how it measures for potential disparities to try and bolster its case.

In a statement from VP of people operations Eileen Naughton, the company says its “analysis gives us confidence that there is no gender pay gap at Google … we look forward to demonstrating the robustness of Google’s approach to equal pay.”

Last week, A US government official said in a court hearing that it was investigating “very significant” disparities in the the salaries paid to men and women at the Californian technology giant, and suggested it is violating federal law.

“The investigation is not complete, but at this point the department has received compelling evidence of very significant discrimination against women in the most common positions at Google headquarters,” said Janet Herold, a regional solicitor at the US Department of Labour.

At the time, Google denied the allegation, telling The Guardian in a statement: “We vehemently disagree with [the] claim. Every year, we do a comprehensive and robust analysis of pay across genders and we have found no gender pay gap. Other than making an unfounded statement which we heard for the first time in court, the DoL hasn’t provided any data, or shared its methodology.”

Google is now sharing information on how it assesses for any potential biases or disparities in a public defence of its hiring practices. In a blog post, it says (emphasis ours):

“In short, each year, we suggest an amount for every employee’s new compensation (consisting of base salary, bonus and equity) based on role, job level, job location as well as current and recent performance ratings. This suggested amount is “blind” to gender; the analysts who calculate the suggested amounts do not have access to employees’ gender data. An employee’s manager has limited discretion to adjust the suggested amount, providing they cite a legitimate adjustment rationale.

“Our pay equity model then looks at employees in the same job categories, and analyses their compensation to confirm that the adjusted amount shows no statistically significant differences between men’s and women’s compensation.”

This all comes in the context of a legal fight between the US Department of Labour’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) and Google. The OFCCP wants information on Google’s compensation to employees, The Guardian reported, but Google has pushed back, labelling the department’s requests a “fishing expedition that has absolutely no relevance to the compliance review.”

According to Google’s most recent diversity report, published in July 2016, just 19% of employees in technical roles are women, versus 31% in the company’s overall workforce.

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