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Pay transparency and discussing wages

Although many have been told it is not polite to discuss finances, some workers in California disagree. As the San Francisco Chronicle reports, an online spreadsheet has been circulating Google since 2015 where employees can list their salaries for public viewing. Since its inception, employees have made it their own, adding new features to the spreadsheet and analyzing the data available in different ways. Some have used the information to negotiate pay raises. 

That is one reason the management were not especially pleased that the document was gaining popularity. Many companies try to restrict salary information and attempt to discourage their employees from discussing wages, but both federal and California law prohibit employers from taking punitive or retaliatory measures against employees who choose to disclose their salary information to others. Transparency in wages is one way workplace discrimination can be discovered, and some companies are using this to help them move towards a more diverse and inclusive workforce.

Yet there are still problems with wage inequality. As The Guardian reports, Google was recently ordered by a judge to provide the Department of Labor with 2014 salary data and employee contact information as part of an ongoing investigation into pay discrimination against female employees. As a federal contractor, an audit by the DoL uncovered what the government believes to be "very worrying" evidence of a possible "extreme" gender pay gap. According to court records, the DoL is accusing Google of wide-ranging pay disparity between what they pay men and women for the same work at the Mountain View campus.

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