Google will pay about $2.6 million in back pay to thousands of female and Asian-American employees to end a Department of Labor investigation that alleges the company may have discriminated on the basis of sex and ethnicity, according to a DOL settlement released Feb. 1.
Google may have paid women in its software engineering departments in Seattle, Kirkland and Mountain View less than men of comparable skill, and the company may also have offered lower hiring packages for female and Asian American employees in some of its offices, according to the early findings of a review from the Department of Labor's Office of Federal Compliance Programs. About 5,500 people are eligible for part of the settlement payment.
In addition to the back pay, Google also agreed to evaluate its hiring practices for engineers to ensure non-discrimination in the future. In return, the DOL agreed not to audit a list of more than 30 Google locations for at least five years, though the office does have the power to ensure that Google complies with the settlement. Google did not admit to any wrongdoing or violation of rules as part of the terms of the agreement.
The Office of Federal Compliance Programs was able to investigate Google's hiring and pay practices because Google is a federal contractor required to abide by affirmative action rules that apply to all of those contractors.