Google has been formally accused of paying more to its male employees than its female equivalents.
The US Department of Labour is suing the internet behemoth for "systemic compensation disparities" against female employees compared to men in commensurate roles, after what it said was ‘compelling evidence'.
The news follows accusations in January that Google was withholding information that would allow the case to be investigated in the first place. Google's federal licence as a contractor insists that such records be available for inspection, but claims it repeatedly refused to comply when asked to cooperate with a compliance audit.
Janette Wipper, a regional director of the Department of Labour, told a San Francisco, California court that, "We found systemic compensation disparities against women pretty much across the entire workforce".
A spokesman for the Department of Labour legal team said that the discrimination "is quite extreme, even in this industry".
Google has denied all the accusations, saying that there is no gender gap at the company. Google attorney Lisa Barnett Sween said that the case was a "fishing expedition that has absolutely no relevance to the compliance review" and that the request for data was a violation of the fourth amendment, warranting it an ‘unreasonable search'.
In a statement to The Guardian, Google responded: "Every year, we do a comprehensive and robust analysis of pay across genders and we have found no gender pay gap.
"Other than making an unfounded statement which we heard for the first time in court, the DoL [Department of Labour] hasn't provided any data, or shared its methodology."
In recent months, the Department of Labour has begun cases against Palantir and Oracle over payment and hiring policies for non-white staff, which both companies deny.
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The theme this year is "Going Digital: Why your most difficult customer is your best friend".
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