A new week brings a new high-profile casualty in terms of diversity in the workplace – this time Google. Our Employment law Associate, Sarah Austin, takes a closer look.

Google has come under intense criticism today. An un-named male employee produced a report claiming that the lack of women in tops jobs in the tech industry was due to biological differences between men and women. He urged people to stop assuming that gender gaps imply sexism. He also argued that Google should stop its diversity campaigns – and pursue a path of ‘ideological diversity’.

The author denies that the gender pay gap exists at all. He states that, although in a national aggregate women have lower salaries than men for a variety of different reasons, women get paid just as much as men if they do the same work. Unfortunately for the author, the US Department of Labour disagrees. Google is currently fighting a wage discrimination investigation, following a finding that the company routinely pays women less than men in comparable roles.

Former employees of Google have spoken out on social media, claiming that they enountered similar views in Google. One pointed out that those at the company who share these views are responsible for performance reviews and interviewing people, and claims that they discriminate. According to its own diversity figures published in June, Google’s workforce is 69% male (and 56% white). Women fill only 25% of leadership roles and 20% of technical jobs, such as computer programmers.

Google’s new Vice President of Diversity, Integrity & Governance, Danielle Brown, felt compelled to issue a statement in response to the report. In her statement, she confirms an unequivocal belief that diversity and inclusion are critical to Google’s success. She said, ‘Part of building an open, inclusive environment means fostering a culture in which those with alternative views, including different political views, feel safe sharing their opinions. But that discourse needs to work alongside the principles of equal employment found in our Code of Conduct, policies and anti-discrimination laws.’

This could be an interesting one to watch.