Google will be paying out a total of US$2.6 million to over 5,500 employees and past job applicants in the settlement of a four-year-long discrimination case. US$1.35 million of the money will go to compensating 2,565 female software engineers who were said to have been paid less than their male counterparts doing comparable work; the remaining US$1.25 million will be used to compensate 1,757 women and 1,219 Asian applicants who were passed over for software engineering roles.
Google will also set aside US$1.25 million for making pay equity adjustments to engineering roles at its Mountain View, Kirkland, Seattle and New York offices over the next five years. About half of its US engineering employees are located across these offices.
In addition, Google has agreed to evaluate its hiring processes and compensation practices for software engineering positions to limit bias, including training its employees who are involved in hiring and compensation—at a minimum, all human resources recruiters, managers, and directors, production supervisors, and corporate human resources and compliance personnel.
The settlement is the culmination of a lawsuit that started in 2016, when the US Department of Labor stated that it had found “systemic compensation disparities against women” across almost all of Google's workforce and proceeded to unsuccessfully sue the company to disclose its salary data. However, Google has insisted throughout that it does not discriminate against women.
This is not the first pricey settlement Google has faced for its hiring and compensation practices. In 2019, the company paid out US$11 million to settle a class action lawsuit alleging that it discriminated against hiring applicants aged 40 and above.