Feb 2, 2021 - Technology

Google to pay $3.8 million to settle discrimination allegations

A photo of a Google sign at the company's Dublin office

Photo: Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Google has agreed to pay more than $3.8 million to settle Labor Department allegations that the search giant discriminated in hiring and pay against women and people of Asian descent.

The big picture: The deal ends the Labor Department case but the broader issues of discrimination at Google and other tech giants are far from settled.

Details: Under the terms of the deal, which the Labor Department announced Monday evening, Google will:

  • hand over $1.3 million in back pay and interest to 2,565 female employees in engineering positions that were subject to pay discrimination;
  • pay more than $1.2 million to 1,757 female and 1,219 Asian applicants who were not hired for software engineering positions; and
  • set up a cash reserve of at least $1.25 million over five years to make pay equity adjustments over the next five years. Any excess money will go toward the company's diversity and inclusion efforts.

Google did not admit fault in the settlement but did agree to improve its systems.

Flashback: Google denied the allegations when the Labor Department first made them in 2017

Between the lines: The settlement comes as Google is under renewed scrutiny for how it treats women and people of color, an issue brought to the forefront with the ouster of prominent Black AI researcher Timnit Gebru.

What they're saying:

  • Google: "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."
  • Labor Department regional director Jane Suhr: “The technology industry continues to be one of the region’s largest and fastest growing employers. Regardless of how complex or the size of the workforce, we remain committed to enforcing equal opportunity laws to ensure non-discrimination and equity in the workforce.”

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