We’ve seen what the gender pay gap looks like—and it’s not pretty. Women getting paid equally to their male counterparts seems like it should be a nonissue in 2017, but in many fields, like, infamously, the male-dominated Silicon Valley tech world, women are getting the short end of the stick. Now a Department of Labor investigation alleges that Google has a huge pay gap issue, even for the tech industry.
“We found systemic compensation disparities against women pretty much across the entire workforce,” Janette Wipper, a Department of Labor regional director, testified in court in San Francisco on Friday, according to The Guardian.
The hearing pertained to the lawsuit the Department of Labor filed against Google when the tech giant refused to provide job and salary history for employees to prove it’s complying with the equal opportunity laws. As a federal contractor, according to TechCrunch, Google is “required to let the government review documents and other relevant information that is relevant to the company’s compliance with equal employment laws.”
“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,” Janet Herold, a regional solicitor for the Department of Labor, told The Guardian. “The government’s analysis at this point indicates that discrimination against women in Google is quite extreme, even in this industry,” she added.
Google has previously said that the Department of Labor is going overboard with their request, according to TechCrunch, and that providing the information requested would be a violation of employees’ privacy.
The tech company has also previously positioned itself as a champion of salary parity, tweeting the following on Equal Pay Day: “We’re proud to share that we have closed the gender pay gap globally, and also provide equal pay across races in the U.S., according to our annual compensation analysis. At our re:Work site, we’re sharing some of the lessons we’ve learned, to help other business close the pay gap.”
Google also made a statement to The Guardian rejecting the Department of Labor’s allegations: “We vehemently disagree with [Wipper’s] 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 [Department of Labor] hasn’t provided any data or shared its methodology.”
The Department of Labor’s allegations come after finding pay disparities in 2015 salaries, which prompted further investigation. Until Google complies with the government audit, the Labor Department has requested that the court cancel any of Google’s federal contracts and stop the company from future government business until it complies with the investigation.