Google refutes charges, says there is no gender pay gap

FILE - This Oct. 20, 2015, file photo, shows a sign outside Google headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. Google says it is "taken aback" by the Labor Department’s claim that it does not compensate women fairly. The company says it conducts "rigorous analyses" that its pay practices are gender-blind and analysts who calculate suggested pay do not have access to an employee’s gender data. The company says it analyzed 52 major job categories in 2016 and found "no gender pay gap." (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

NEW YORK — Google said it's "taken aback " by the government's claim that it doesn't compensate women fairly.

The company said it conducts "rigorous analyses" that its pay practices are gender-blind and found "no gender pay gap" in 52 major job categories it analyzed last year. Google added that analysts who calculate suggested pay don't have access to employees' gender data.

Google also said that beyond gender pay equity, the company recently expanded the analysis to cover race in the U.S. as well.

The U.S. Department of Labor had accused Google of shortchanging women doing similar work to men, saying it found "systemic compensation disparities" across the company's workforce.

Google responded in a blog post Tuesday that the department's assertion "came without any supporting data or methodology." The company said it had already produced hundreds of thousands of documents in response to 18 separate requests, and the government is seeking thousands more, including contact details of employees.

The department had no comment, saying the case is ongoing.

The difference between Google's and the Labor Department's claims might come down to how each side defines pay discrimination, Tim Worstall, a fellow at the Adam Smith Institute in London, wrote in a recent post for Forbes.

"Google is using a strict definition of 'same job' to find no gender pay gap. The Department of Labor is using a looser definition of 'similar job' to find that there is one," he wrote. "Who you think is right here is entirely up to you but that's where the disagreement is."

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