Google refuses legal request to share pay records in gender discrimination case
Google is resisting a legal request to disclose salary records in a class-action gender discrimination lawsuit, marking the technology company’s latest efforts to prevent scrutiny of how much it pays its female employees.
Google attorneys argued in court on Friday that a judge should block a suit brought by former employees alleging systematic pay disparities on behalf of all women at the company. The company is also arguing that it should not have to provide information on the salaries of men and women or disclose wage policy documents until a first ruling on the class-action status.
The judge has not yet made an official decision but on Friday appeared to side with the tech giant on a number of issues.
The class-action complaint filed in September provided the most detailed formal accounts to date of gender discrimination at Google, alleging that the company denies promotions and career opportunities to qualified women and “segregates” them into lower-paying positions. Google’s latest efforts to thwart the lawsuit and avoid disclosures come at a time when the tech industry is reeling over allegations of misogyny, sexual harassment and an overall lack of diversity.
“Clearly the data is not good for them, and they don’t want to turn it over,” James Finberg, a civil rights attorney representing the employees, said after the hearing in San Francisco. “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.”
The suit – which provides accounts of alleged discrimination against a former engineer, business manager and sales employee – builds on claims by the US Department of Labor (DoL). Earlier this year, the federal regulator alleged “extreme” pay discrimination in positions and departments throughout Google and sued the Mountain View, California-based company for salary records as part of its audit.