Google settles with Department of Labor over allegations of worker discrimination

The company is expected to pay more than $2.5 million to roughly 5,500 employees and job applicants who allegedly were under-compensated or faced hiring discrimination.

The settlement resolves allegations that the company had discriminated against women and Asian job candidates for engineering roles in some of its West Coast offices. The Department had also allegedly found pay gaps that disadvantaged women in software engineering positions.

The allegations arose out of routine compliance reviews that were conducted between 2014 and 2017. Monday’s settlement, Department officials said, reflected Google (GOOG)‘s willingness to reach an “early resolution” to the matter.
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“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,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement to CNN Business. “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.”

Google, like many of its peers in the tech industry, has come under scrutiny for its treatment of women, minorities and workers more generally. In recent months, the company has faced a unionization push as well as a controversy over the departure of a respected leader in ethical artificial intelligence research.

As part of the settlement, Google will pay more than $1.3 million to compensate roughly 2,500 software engineers who allegedly experienced pay discrimination, according to the Labor Department. And it will also pay more than $1.2 million to compensate job candidates who were not hired as a result of the alleged hiring discrimination.

A separate $1.25 million fund will be established for five years of “pay-equity adjustments” for Google’s engineering employees working in Mountain View, Calif.; two offices in the Seattle area; and New York.

“Google agreed to enhance future compliance proactively and review its current policies, procedures and practices related to hiring, compensation; conduct analyses; and take corrective action to ensure non-discrimination,” the Department said in a release.

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