Feb. 2 (UPI) -- Internet behemoth Google LLC has reached a settlement agreement with the U.S. Department of Labor to pay $2.6 million to more than 5,500 workers and former job applicants to resolve allegations of employing hiring and compensation practices that disadvantaged women.
The department announced the settlement agreement on Monday that followed a routine compliance evaluation of the company by the department that found female software engineers at facilities in California and Washington were paid less than their male coworkers.
The audit also found the company discriminated against hiring women and Asian applicants as software engineers.
To resolve the allegations, Google has agreed to pay $1.34 million in back pay and interest to 2,565 female employees and $1.23 million in back pay and interest to 1,757 female and 1,219 Asian applicants for software engineering positions who were not hired.
"Pay discrimination remains a systemic problem," Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs Director Jenny Yang said. "Employers must conduct regular pay equity audits to ensure that their compensation systems promote equal opportunity."
Google has also agreed to allocate a cash reserve of at least $1.25 million in pay-equity adjustments for the next five years for American engineer employees at its New York, California and Washington State locations where about 50% of its engineering professionals are staffed.
The Labor Department said it found Google has provided software engineering positions to only 51 women and 17 Asian applicants.
Google will also review its current hiring and compensation polices, procedures and practices, the department said.
Jane Suhr, regional director of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs in San Francisco, said the department acknowledges Google's "willingness to engage in settlement discussion" to archive a quick resolution.
"The technology industry continues to be one of the region's largest and fastest growing employers," Suhr said. "Regardless of how complex or the size of the workforce, we remain committed to enforcing equal opportunity laws to ensure non-discrimination and equity in the workforce."