The Search Google Didn’t Want to See: Gender-Based Pay Disparity

The Search Google Didn’t Want to See: Gender-Based Pay Disparity

On the heels of an exciting set of new product launches from Apple this week, Silicon Valley is reeling again with alleged gender-related discrimination issues.  This time its Google and the suit is being pursued by three former Googlers, Kelly Ellis, Holly Pease, and Kelli Wisuri who claim that women at Google are underpaid compared to men and are often denied promotions.  They are also want to make this a class action suit representing all women who have worked at Google in the last four years.

“Google has discriminated and continues to discriminate against its female employees by systematically paying them lower compensation than Google pays to male employees performing substantially similar work under similar working conditions,” the lawsuit claims.

All three women claim they were paid less and started and were hired at lower-level job tiers than their male counterparts.   Google emphatically denies the plaintiff’s assertions, but this isn’t the first run in with these complaints for the tech giant.  The Department of Labor is investigating Google for similar claims and in a recent NY Times article,  “At Google, Employee-Led Effort Finds Men Are Paid More than Men,” a survey of 1,200 employees reflected discrepancies in pay between the sexes. 

The women and their attorney believe that part of the alleged pay disparity comes from the tiered pay system used by Google.  Googlers in higher tiers get higher pay and have access to bigger bonuses.  James Finberg, an attorney representing the trio, believes there is enough “statistical evidence” to support a class action suit for all women who have worked at Google in the last four year.


Learn more about Syntrio's Employment Discrimination Courses


Stories like this abound in the high-tech industry and it is part of the reason you are seeing dramatic changes being enacted, with law changes, in places like New York City (and up to 20 states), making it illegal to ask about a job candidates salary history.  The law is effective October 1, 2017 and not only includes asking the question verbally but also through electronic job applications.  Some organizations managing job boards and applicant sites are removing that question from their applications, just to be safe. 

At this point, the claims from the three former Googlers are allegations.  If these are discovered to be true and, if a class action suit is filed and ultimately won, it would have huge ramifications for hiring and pay practices in the high-tech industry.  Only time will tell how this pans out.


 Do you have questions about your current anti-harassment, anti-discrimination or code of conduct training program? Contact us and we can work with you to make recommendations to augment and/or improve your current offering.

Syntrio is a leader in both the ethics and compliance field, as well as human resources and employment law, and is prepared to help your company implement a compliance program aimed at reducing the potential impact of compliance violations within the organization. Syntrio takes an innovative philosophy towards compliance program design and strives to engineer engaging, entertaining, and thought-provoking content. Contact www.syntrio.com for more information about our ethics and code of conduct online courses and remember to follow us on Facebook, TwitterGoogle Plus and LinkedIn for daily updates on employment law and compliance that impact your company!

Written by, Darin Hartley, Director of Marketing for Syntrio

 

When it Comes to Transgender Harassment, Amazon Delivers

When it Comes to Transgender Harassment, Amazon Delivers

Continuing a string of technology company discrimination lawsuits, a transgender woman and her husband have sued Amazon for workplace harassment. The lawsuit alleges that the couple was subject to threats and severe harassment when they worked for Amazon in 2015.

According to the lawsuit, which was filed in federal court in Kentucky, the woman was subjected to catcalls and taunts of “shemale” and “cross-dresser” from colleagues. The lawsuit also alleges the woman’s husband was subjected to derogatory comments about his sex life due to his association with a transgender woman.


Learn more about Syntrio's Diversity and Respect courses.


The couple allegedly made several complaints to supervisors about the harassment, and claims both members feared for their lives after a colleague inflicted intentional damage to their vehicle when the brake lines were cut on Amazon’s property.

It is important to note that while Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does not explicitly prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity, the EEOC interprets Title VII’s prohibition on discrimination on the basis of “sex” to include sex based stereotypes and gender identity. Likewise, several federal courts have held that discrimination of transgender employees violates federal anti-discrimination laws and many states have specifically incorporated transgender status into the umbrella of protected classes protected from discrimination under state anti-discrimination law.

In short, discrimination of any kind is unacceptable in the year 2017, and discrimination against transgender employees is particularly problematic given the emerging legal protections against this despicable form of workplace discrimination.

It is always a good idea to implement careful training programs for managers who craft policies that are impacted by federal and state laws. As part of its suite of employment law and human resources courseware, Syntrio provides online courses covering interviewing and hiring, employment discrimination training, and a variety of other topics critical to managing your business within the complicated laws governing employment in the United States and its territories. We invite you to contact us at your convenience to learn more!


 Do you have questions about your current anti-harassment, anti-discrimination or code of conduct training program? Contact us and we can work with you to make recommendations to augment and/or improve your current offering.

Syntrio is a leader in both the ethics and compliance field, as well as human resources and employment law, and is prepared to help your company implement a compliance program aimed at reducing the potential impact of compliance violations within the organization. Syntrio takes an innovative philosophy towards compliance program design and strives to engineer engaging, entertaining, and thought-provoking content. Contact www.syntrio.com for more information about our ethics and code of conduct online courses and remember to follow us on Facebook, TwitterGoogle Plus and LinkedIn for daily updates on employment law and compliance that impact your company!

Written by, Jon Gonzalez, Esq., Chief Counsel for Syntrio

 

If You Can’t Spot the Bully in the Room

If You Can’t Spot the Bully in the Room

According to a recent study by the Center for Disease Control, as many as 20% of high school students report being bullied on school grounds, while another 16% claim to have been bullied electronically.  As much of a problem as school bullying is, with reports of an increase in teen suicide and significant teen emotional issues, bullying does not end when students graduate high school and enter college or the workforce. Indeed, the same CDC study indicates that roughly 7% of all Americans report being bullied in the workplace.

Although recent trends have shown improvement in instances of workplace bullying (which correspond with an increase in company willingness to spend compliance resources on identifying and eliminating this type of behavior), the reductions in workplace bullying complaints are still slight and show significant room for improvement.

Workplace bullying persists for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is a hard-nosed culture that has been instilled in the American workforce wherein “only the strong survive.” As an alumnus of high-pressure law firm and corporate environments, I’m no stranger to the “drill sergeant” method of motivation.  For myself; yelling, screaming, and paper throwing reminds me of playing sports as a kid and has no negative impact, psychologically or physically. Conversely, I’ve known several bright attorneys who simply could not take tactics they found abusive and dropped out of practice altogether.  That fact alone indicates that bullying in the workplace is a problem.


Learn more about Syntrio's anti-bullying course Preventing Workplace Bullying


Many high-level executives and law firm partners look at those who choose to leave a stressful and potentially abusive environment as “selecting out” of the process, only to have those positions filled with fresh candidates who can either “cut it” or not. This creates an endless cycle of development and departure that is likely problematic for the long-term success of corporate culture.  Although the “sink or swim” debate can be left for those with degrees in psychology, it is clear that turbulence and turnover in corporate environments does have a negative impact on project continuity.

For the aforementioned reasons, companies have begun investing significant compliance capital into diversity, respect, and anti-bullying training courses aimed at changing corporate culture from intimidation and regimented hierarchical structure to harmony and teamwork. While results are still being calculated (as focus on workplace bullying has only come to light in the last few years), early returns from companies who have implemented workplace bullying and diversity/respect training into their compliance programs have been positive.

Syntrio recommends contacting a member of its staff for a review of our products in the diversity & respect and anti-bullying areas of compliance. We invite you to review our products and see for yourself how you can derive increased productivity from a change in corporate culture!


 Do you have questions about your current anti-harassment, anti-discrimination or code of conduct training program? Contact us and we can work with you to make recommendations to augment and/or improve your current offering.

Syntrio is a leader in both the ethics and compliance field, as well as human resources and employment law, and is prepared to help your company implement a compliance program aimed at reducing the potential impact of compliance violations within the organization. Syntrio takes an innovative philosophy towards compliance program design and strives to engineer engaging, entertaining, and thought-provoking content. Contact www.syntrio.com for more information about our ethics and code of conduct online courses and remember to follow us on Facebook, TwitterGoogle Plus and LinkedIn for daily updates on employment law and compliance that impact your company!

Written by, Jon Gonzalez, Esq., Chief Counsel for Syntrio

 

Online Education for Maine’s Revised Statute, Title 26, Section 807 Sexual Harassment Training

Online Education for Maine’s Revised Statute, Title 26, Section 807 Sexual Harassment Training

New Course: Maine Sexual Harassment for Managers (Maine Audience)

WIIFY:  What’s In It For You?

Companies in Maine must comply with one of the toughest sexual harassment training requirements in the country.   All supervisors or managers in a business with fifteen or more employees who are located in or doing business in the state of Maine must receive sexual harassment training within a year of the beginning of their employment. This includes managers outside of the state with direct subordinates working in Maine.  This training will meet the requirements of Maine's revised Statute, Title 26, Section 807.

Course Overview

This course is, designed for Maine managers and/or supervisor. It, educates managers on Maine state anti-discrimination laws (as well as the federal law), and company policy prohibiting sexual harassment. Using engaging and entertaining hypothetical scenarios and real-life examples, managers are instructed on how to recognize and prevent sexual harassment and retaliation. They are also provided practical guidance on the steps that should be taken to correct sexual harassment, in the event that it occurs. Managers will learn of their legal and moral obligations in refraining from harassment and maintaining a harassment-free environment, as well as the remedies available for victims. They also will be armed with all of the reporting and posting requirements that are set forth by the Maine Legislature in the Maine Human Rights Act’s sexual harassment training requirement. Simply stated, there is no better course managers can take on the market today.

Syntrio’s courseware was specifically developed with Maine’s requirements in mind. Further, our courses focus on ensuring that your workplace fosters a culture free from harassment and does not simply “check the box.” While companies will undoubtedly be better prepared to defend a lawsuit when using the courses that we carefully develop, companies will also be best prepared to provide employees with the tools to work in an environment wherein they will be comfortable and ready to stay for the long haul. We cannot understate the proven value and savings from hiring and retaining the best possible employees, as well as protecting your company from unlawful harassment.

 


Want a demo of Maine Sexual Harassment Training for Managers? (Maine Audience)?


What Organizations Need This?

This course is applicable to all organizations that:

  • Have 15 or more employees in the state of Maine or have managers outside the state of Maine with subordinates in Maine.

Which Employees Need This?

This course applies to all supervisors or managers in a business with fifteen or more employees who are located in or doing business in the state of Maine.

Course Topics

The course addresses the following topics:

  • Explains your legal obligations, as an employee of this company, with regards to sexual harassment in the workplace
  • Defines and describe sexual harassment.
  • Identifies the “protected classes” under federal law and the Maine Human Rights Act.
  • Describes what can create a hostile work environment.
  • Describes actions  and who to contact if you witness or experience workplace harassment.
  • Describes  how to take immediate and corrective action in response to complaints of sexual harassment.

 Do you have questions about your current anti-harassment, anti-discrimination or code of conduct training program? Contact us and we can work with you to make recommendations to augment and/or improve your current offering.

Syntrio is a leader in both the ethics and compliance field, as well as human resources and employment law, and is prepared to help your company implement a compliance program aimed at reducing the potential impact of compliance violations within the organization. Syntrio takes an innovative philosophy towards compliance program design and strives to engineer engaging, entertaining, and thought-provoking content. Contact www.syntrio.com for more information about our ethics and code of conduct online courses and remember to follow us on Facebook, TwitterGoogle Plus and LinkedIn for daily updates on employment law and compliance that impact your company!

 

 

Is There an Echo in Here?

Is There an Echo in Here?

It seems lately that Silicon Valley tech companies can’t stop creating negative headlines.  As we wrote in a previous blog post, there has been multiple sexual harassment and other related allegations in some of the top Silicon Valley companies as well as in the venture capital community.  In this week’s related story, James Damore, a Google Scientist, unleashed a ten-page manifesto on addressing diversity in the company.   To say it created a maelstrom is putting it mildly.

Google’s CEO, Sundar Pichai was on a family vacation, and cut it short to take action on the situation.   What was his dilemma?  Do I keep Damore here based on Google’s support for free speech?  Do I fire Damore for helping to create a hostile work environment?   It was a tough decision but acting swiftly and decisively was key.  And, that is just what he did.  He fired James Damore believing the words and context of the internal memo written created a hostile work environment, which is counter to Google’s Code of Conduct.

What was in the document that Pichai believed it could create a hostile work environment?

In the document, "Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber,"  Damore essentially goes on an extended rant about gender bias as well as other types of bias, which he believes is deeply ingrained in the Google culture.   He also describes political bias, i.e., left and right political biases and calls this a moral bias.  He goes on to describe potential reasons for gender bias at Google and describes personality differences in men and women.


Learn more about Syntrio's Valuing Diversity course.


He continues the article with a summary of why he believes Google’s biases hurt the company and then has a long list of “suggestions” to improve the situation there including:

  • De-moralize diversity.
  • Stop alienating conservatives.
  • Confront Google’s biases.
  • Stop restricting programs and classes to certain genders and races.
  • Have an open and honest discussion about the costs and benefits of our diversity programs.
  • Focus on psychological safety, not just race/gender diversity.
  • De-emphasize empathy.
  • Prioritize intention.
  • Be open about the science of human nature.
  • Reconsider making Unconscious Bias training mandatory for promo committees.

He ends the document with some clarifications and statements related to what he wrote, e.g., that his perceptions were based on the Mountain View campus and not global locations, etc.

Google’s new Vice President of Diversity, Integrity, & Governance, Danielle Brown, distributed a follow-up memo to all Googlers, which further called out the importance of diversity and inclusion at Google.

While there is no doubt the James Damore article, “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber,”  created a blitz of activity, one positive from it is that there will probably be even more lean-forward action taken related to bias, diversity, inclusion, and hostile-free work environments at Google. 


 Do you have questions about your current anti-harassment, anti-discrimination or code of conduct training program? Contact us and we can work with you to make recommendations to augment and/or improve your current offering.

Syntrio is a leader in both the ethics and compliance field, as well as human resources and employment law, and is prepared to help your company implement a compliance program aimed at reducing the potential impact of compliance violations within the organization. Syntrio takes an innovative philosophy towards compliance program design and strives to engineer engaging, entertaining, and thought-provoking content. Contact www.syntrio.com for more information about our ethics and code of conduct online courses and remember to follow us on Facebook, TwitterGoogle Plus and LinkedIn for daily updates on employment law and compliance that impact your company!

Written by Darin Hartley, M.Ed., Director of Marketing, Syntrio