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Google’s underpayment of women is ‘systemic,’ say Feds


The U.S. government is charging that Google is systematically paying women less than their male counterparts.

Testifying in a San Francisco court Friday, Department of Labor (DOL) regional director Janette Wipper said the government “found systemic compensation disparities against women pretty much across the entire workforce,” according to a report in The Guardian.

The charges come as part of a lawsuit the DOL filed against Google in January, seeking access to the company’s compensation data and related personnel records. As a federal contractor, Google is required to permit the government to inspect records relevant to its compliance with equal opportunity laws.

The DOL alleges that Google refused to provide the required information, while the company says it turned over “hundreds of thousands” of records and that the government’s requests are “overbroad in scope, or reveal confidential data,” according to TechCrunch.

In opening remarks, Lisa Barnett Sween, a Google attorney, called the DOL request a “fishing expedition that has absolutely no relevance to the compliance review.”

A Google spokesperson provided Fortune with the following statement:

“We vehemently disagree with Ms. Whipper’s claim. 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 hasn’t provided any data, or shared its methodology.”

The accusations come after Google’s Tuesday announcement on Equal Pay Day that it has “closed the gender pay gap globally.”

The company also said that it’s “sharing some of the lessons we’ve learned to help other businesses close the gap.”

As noted by The Guardian, this isn’t the first time the government has sued a large tech company over employment and pay issues. In January, the DOL sued Oracle over alleged pay discrimination against female and minority employees.

This story originally appeared on Fortune.com. Copyright 2017

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