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Google underpaid thousands of temporary “shadow workers”

As per reports by The Guardian and The New York Times, Silicon Valley giant Google grossly underpaid thousands of international “shadow workers,” in what is said to be a violation of laws pertaining to pay-parity in multiple countries.

Google underpaid shadow workers

Image Credits: Getty Images

A Flurry Of Noise And Frustration

The reports claim that while the company’s compliance department had discovered the mistake, it consciously chose not to bring it to light or compensate the temporary staff who were subjected to the underpayment. Instead, the rates were corrected for future employees, in a bid to evade reputational damage along with legal and financial retribution.

Interestingly, Ireland-based Google manager Alan Barry had already feared that the sudden and dramatic pay rise would cause the affected employees to “connect the dots,” which would in turn end up giving rise to “flurry of noise/frustration.”

As per the Times, Barry apparently wrote an internal mail to the firm, saying that he isn’t too keen on inviting “the charge that we’ve allowed this situation to persist,” causing the correction needed for become significant.

No Pay-Parity Law

This mistake on Google’s part apparently violates the pay-parity laws in Asia and Europe, which require firms to pay both their full-time and temporary workers the same wages for the same workplace duties. A similar protocol does not exist in the United States, which might explain the issue, which is nonetheless not excusable.

The Guardian says that Google employees more than 900 workers in countries like India, Ireland, United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Germany, Poland, and France, and every single one of them has a pay-parity law in place.

Working To Address The Issue

Google’s chief compliance officer, Spyro Karetsos has said that the company has failed to increase its comparator rate benchmarks during the past few years, even as the pay rates for temporary staff have gone up quite a few times in other countries. In fact, he says that the wages that temporary workers are receiving in other countries are significantly higher than the comparator rates that the company is still clinging to.

At the same time, he also says that the firm has done its best to address the issue. He adds that the team is currently carrying out a review into the matter, and is trying its best to address the pay discrepancies.

We will see about that, considering as how, so far, Google hasn’t shown any signs of compensating the affected workers.

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