Shareholders and executives at Google’s parent company, Alphabet, rejected a plan Wednesday to tie CEO and executive pay to diversity and inclusion efforts. They also voted down a proposal requesting the company seat conservative board members.
The two bids, which were presented at Alphabet’s annual shareholder meeting, reflect simmering workplace tensions at Google, which faces multiple lawsuits from former employees, including one accusing the company of discriminating against women and another accusing Google of discriminating against conservative white men.
Four women who worked at Google are suing the company for violating equal pay laws, arguing that the company paid women less than men for the same work, assigned them to lower-paying jobs, and promoted them less often.
Google denies those allegations, but the Labor Department’s findings seem to support the women’s claims. Auditors for DOL said they found “systemic compensation disparities against women” across the entire company. The agency is investigating the company’s pay practices as part of a routine pay audit it performs on federal contractors.
Conservative male employees accuse Google of discrimination too
The company is also facing a lawsuit from former engineer James Damore, based on allegations of “reverse discrimination,” against conservative white men.
Damore was fired in August after an anti-diversity memo he wrote went viral. In the memo, Damore claimed that women are less biologically suited to be engineers than men. He pointed to these biological differences as a possible explanation for why few women work as engineers at Google, and to question the need for diversity programs.
Damore and another fired engineer have since filed a discrimination lawsuit against Google. The complaint, filed in January, claims that “employees who expressed views deviating from the majority view at Google on political subjects raised in the workplace and relevant to Google’s employment policies and its business, such as ‘diversity’ hiring policies, ‘bias sensitivity,’ or ‘social justice,’ were/are singled out, mistreated, and systematically punished and terminated from Google, in violation of their legal rights.”