What Google’s Pay Equity Snafu Means to You

Under pressure to address gender issues in the workplace, Google undertook a pay analysis in 2018. What it discovered was quite a surprise. In a world where women commonly rank lower than their male counterparts in compensation for similar positions, Google found it had underpaid men. A lot of them!

So big, bad Google (the same company that’s being sued by several former female employees for pay discrimination) dug into its pay practices to discover that male employees were underpaid at a higher rate than females. 

The company fixed the issue and according to a blog post by Google’s lead analyst for pay equity, “provided $9.7 million in adjustments to a total of 10,677 Googlers.”

Whether compensation is higher for women (as it was for some Googlers), or men (as it is in the rest of the known universe) closing the gender pay gap requires action from employers, and policymakers and the Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has made the issue a major focus in 2019.

The EEOC has released new filing rules for employer EEO-1 reports (formally known as Employer Information Reports). EEO-1 reports collect workforce data about the size, location, and race and gender demographics. The EEOC uses this data to support civil rights enforcement.

Critics say that while more companies (like Google) are looking for opportunities to create a fairer compensation field, they often overlook aspects of pay equity that go beyond salary amounts, including:

  • Lower pay grades at the time of hiring
  • Unequal opportunities to land high-paying positions
  • Cultural or managerial biases that may prohibit promotions
  • Work accommodations (flex schedules/family leave) that inhibit pay progress

Like Google, employers everywhere are discovering that 2019 is churning up to become a wage equity tsunami. With equal pay legislation popping up in almost every state, and collection of EEO-1 data, experts predict a year of increased audits, paperwork, pay adjustments, and more lawsuits.

Will you be prepared to report your pay data by race, ethnicity, and sex by the May 31 deadline? Get the help you need to ensure accurate and compliant reporting with C4CM’s webinar, EEO-1 Report Filing and Compliance.

V.L. Brunskill


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