Google — the socially conscious tech giant that touts its commitment to fight bias inside and outside its offices — is accused of paying women teachers of employees’ kids less than male teachers who possessed less experience, the Guardian reported.
Former employee Heidi Lamar alleged in a complaint that Google employed roughly 147 women and three men as preschool teachers in its childcare center — but that two of those men were given higher starting salaries than nearly all of the women teachers, the paper said.
Google faces new discrimination charge: paying female teachers less than men (The Guardian-@guardian) https://t.co/cUhstbm2rX— ECEC (@ECEC)1515089740.0
Google declined to comment about Lamar’s claims, but the paper added that the tech giant has "repeatedly insisted that there is no gender pay gap and that it has conducted rigorous analyses to ensure that women are fairly compensated."
Women make up only 31 percent of Google's global workforce.
Lamar, 31, joined a class-action lawsuit with a former engineer, manager and sales worker alleging Google “segregated” women into lower-paying jobs, the Guardian reported.
More from the paper:
When Lamar was hired in 2013 as a preschool teacher at Google’s children’s center, which provides daycare and classes to employees’ children, she had five years experience in similar jobs and a master’s in teaching at the early childhood level. [...]
She said she was surprised when Google classified her as a Level 1 employee, the lowest possible category, offering her $18.51 an hour, which was the same as her previous salary. Despite her qualifications and her move to one of the most expensive housing markets in the country, Google declined to negotiate her starting salary, records show.
Lamar loved the job, which involved teaching 4- and 5-year-olds and working with infants and toddlers, and she was eventually promoted. But in March 2017, in a conversation with colleagues inspired by International Women’s Day, Lamar said she was stunned when a male colleague revealed he was hired at Level 2 at the same time as her and offered $21 per hour.
That meant his salary was 13% higher than hers even though, she alleged, he had only three years’ experience and no master’s degree in teaching.
“The biggest difference was that he’s a man,” Lamar told the Guardian. “My first reaction was to immediately feel angry and insulted.”
What else did Lamar say she found out?
She said she later learned another male teacher also had been hired at Level 2, the paper reported, and that Lamar knew of only one woman when she was at the tech giant who was at the higher rate — and that woman had over 10 years of experience.
Lamar added to the Guardian that she approached a supervisor and human resources about her concerns but was told there was no hiring bias. She told the paper her request for gender information about Level 1 and 2 teachers was declined.
Fueling her concerns about hiring bias was the revelation that some employees could receive higher placements for job interview performance, Lamar added to the Guardian.
That's when she quit, the paper said.
How did Google respond?
“We work really hard to create a great workplace for everyone, and to give everyone the chance to thrive here," Google spokeswoman Gina Scigliano said in an email to the Guardian. "Job levels and promotions are determined through rigorous hiring and promotion committees, and must pass multiple levels of review, including checks to make sure there is no bias in these decisions.”
The paper added that Google didn't respond to its request for data on its teacher hiring practices.