Google says it pays women equally. An activist shareholder isn't convinced.
Google, which is being sued by former employees and investigated by the Labor Department for underpaying women, says it pays most of the men and women who work for the Internet giant around the globe—89% of the more than 70,000 plus employees—equally.
But the remaining 11% is a question mark. Those employees, a group that includes the company's senior vice presidents and above and who are mostly men, were not included in the analysis conducted by Google that was released Thursday.
Arjuna Capital, which has been pressing Google to disclose more publicly about how much male and female employees earn as part of a broader effort to close the gender pay gap in the business world, praised Google for being more forthcoming. But the activist shareholder found fault with the limited scope of the analysis.
Google only examined job categories with 30 or more employees and with at least five men and at least five women. That excluded all employees at the vice president level and above.
Michael Passoff, CEO of Proxy Impact, which is backing the shareholder proposal with Arjuna Capital, says he's concerned about the 11% of employees that were not covered by the analysis and the "lack of assurance that there will be an expanded disclosure in the future."
"The data for senior management is missing and that is generally where the largest gender pay discrepancies are found," Passoff said.
Natasha Lamb, managing partner and lead filer of gender pay resolutions at Arjuna Capital, said she would not withdraw the shareholder proposal, which requests parent Alphabet report on the risks associated with "emerging public policies on the gender pay gap."
"Today's announcement represents a serious first step toward ensuring gender pay equity at Google. Still, we find ourselves uncomfortable with its lack of breadth," she said. "We think there is room for improvement and can't give a rubber stamp to an incomplete analysis."
Of the roughly 63,000 employees surveyed, Google said it found 228 with statistically significant pay differences and increased their pay, which cost $270,000.
In a statement, Google said: "We will continue to focus on fairness in all of our people processes, and want Google to be a great place for everyone to work."
Google, which three years ago pledged to close the race and gender gap to make its workforce better reflect the panoply of people it serves around the globe, is still overwhelmingly male and employs very few African Americans and Hispanics.
Scrutiny of Google has intensified since the Labor Department began examining possible pay disparities. Last April, a Labor Department official said investigators had found "systemic" compensation disparities against women pretty much across the entire work force." In July, a judge ordered Google to hand over employee records to Labor Department investigators probing the alleged gender pay gap.
In September, three former employees sued Google claiming they were paid and promoted less than their male colleagues. A fourth woman, a preschool teacher, joined the lawsuit in January. Google denies the allegations.
A judge rejected the initial complaint seeking class action status for all women who worked at Google in California for the past four years for being overly broad in December. The amended version proposes a narrower class of plaintiffs that includes engineering, research, management, sales and teaching staff.
©2018 USA Today
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.