On the heels of Donald Trump rolling back a President Barack Obama-era order that called for protections for women in the workplace, Alphabet, the parent company of Google, is pushing back on a proposal from shareholders to provide transparency about whether or not the company has a gender pay gap issue, according to Buzzfeed.
It’s the second year in a row that Google's parent company has opposed evaluating the question of a gender pay gap, even as other tech companies like Apple, Microsoft, and Amazon have all released reports that determined that women were paid approximately 99.5 cents or more for every dollar men make. While those numbers are promising and a move in the right direction, they also don’t address issues including primarily male workforces and leadership roles that go most frequently to male employees, according to Buzzfeed. But Google hasn't provided any information.
A spokesperson for Arjuna Capital, the investment firm pushing for transparency on the question of a gender pay gap at Google, spoke about the company’s frustration with Alphabet’s refusal to disclose details of employee pay in terms of gender equity.
"They have been unwilling to do that," Natasha Lamb said on behalf of Arjuna Capital. "That's unsettling given how proactive their tech peers have been, and also given what we just saw with the Department of Labor accusing them of extreme gender pay disparity. It makes one question what's really going on here when there isn't full transparency and accountability."
Further complicating matters is the fact that the refusal comes at a time when Google is part of a Department of Labor investigation into its pay practices since the company was accused of “systemic compensation disparities” against women, according to The Guardian. Allegations of gender pay disparities were revealed during a federal hearing for a lawsuit the Dept. of Labor filed in January.
A regional solicitor for the Dept. of Labor, Janet Herold, told The Guardian last week, “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.”
She added, “The government’s analysis at this point indicates that discrimination against women in Google is quite extreme, even in this industry."
Responding to the assertions by the government, Google’s vice president of operations Eileen Naughton wrote in a blog post that the company was “quite surprised by the allegations,” adding that the Dept. of Labor provided no data to back up the claims.
"...there is no gender pay gap at Google,” she wrote.