Google can't spare 113 seconds of revenue to compile data on its gender pay gap

Has $150 million diversity program, server farms galore, needs 500 hours to sift data

After failing in April to shut down reporting of its lawsuit with the United States Department of Labor, Google's told the US court looking into alleged pay discrimination it would be too expensive to find out whether women are underpaid at the advertising behemoth.

How much is too expensive? US$100,000, Google told the court, which if our calculation against its $28 billion 2016 revenue is correct, represents around 113 seconds of revenue for the Alphabet subsidiary.

Oh, and Google's lawyer added that compiling accurate wage data to compare mens' income to womens' income would take 500 hours of staff time.

Which is pretty odd given that Google has more-or-less perfected the art of running computers at scale and has an army of developers on staff.

It's a high-stakes battle for Mountain View, because as a federal contractor the company has to comply with equal opportunity laws and is supposed to let regulators review its records.

Google attorney Lisa Barnett Sween argued that the court's powers are too broad and unconstitutional (something that won't change the labour-court's mind, but hints at how the company will argue if it has to take this all the way to the Supreme Court).

She also complained that Google's already spent nine minutes' worth of revenue ($500,000) trying to compile the data it doesn't want to provide the DoL.

Department of Labor attorney Ian Eliasoph pointed out it's a bit rich that a company that fanfared a $150 million diversity package in 2015 claims it can't afford to compile data on pay equality. ®

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