Google refuses to share documents on wages in gender discrimination lawsuit
The technology company said that the case was just an open-ended probe into the duties of every employee in the entire company.
Alphabet Inc-owned Google has refused a legal request in a class-action gender discrimination lawsuit to disclose how much it pays its employees, The Guardian reported.
On Friday, the technology company’s lawyers argued in court that it should not have to provide information on salaries or disclose wage policy documents until a first ruling on the class-action status. It also asked the judge to block the case filed by former employees of the company alleging that there were pay disparities in the company.
Though the judge has not yet made a final decision, she appeared to agree with Google on many issues, the report said.
In September, three people – a former Google software engineer, a former communications specialist and a former manager – accused the tech major of paying its male staff significantly higher salaries than their female counterparts for work performed in similar roles. They also alleged that Google assigned female employees positions that have limited career growth.
Google’s lawyers argued on Friday that the three employees could not file a complaint on behalf of all the women who were employed by the company in the last four years in California as it was “too broad”. Google attorney Zachary Hutton said, “It’s just an open-ended probe into the job duties of every employee in the entire company.” Referring to the request to share salary records, Hutton added: “I cannot conceive of a more probing, more onerous set of discovery.”
“Clearly the data is not good for them, and they don’t want to turn it over,” civil rights attorney James Finberg said after the hearing in San Francisco on Friday. Finberg is one of the lawyers representing the plaintiffs. “Eventually, the truth will come out, and the truth will show that they do in fact pay women less than men in the same job title in nearly every job.”
Though Google has repeatedly said that there is no pay gap in its company, it has refused to open its books to the government and the public.
The lawsuit comes at a time when the company is being investigated by the United States Department of Labour for gender biases in its pay practices. Google spokesperson Gina Scigliano had refuted the allegations, saying committees on hiring and promotions decide on employment matters “to make sure there is no gender bias”.