News & Commentary

September 15, 2017

Maddy Joseph

Maddy Joseph is a student at Harvard Law School.

Google was sued yesterday in a class action alleging that the company pays women less than it pays men for similar work and that the company places women into lesser job tracks.  The suit comes on the heels of last week’s New York Times report of salary data detailing how “female employees are paid less than male staff members at most job levels within Google, and the pay disparity extends as women climb the corporate ladder.”  In April, the Department of Labor acknowledged that an investigation of Google had “found systemic compensation disparities against women.”  An Administrative Law Judge ordered Google to turn over limited salary data to DOL in July.

Earlier this week, the Senate Commerce Committee took up a draft measure that would hasten the introduction of self-driving cars and trucks.  A version of the bill passed the House last week by unanimous voice vote; it would allow autonomous cars and trucks to be exempted from certain safety requirements and would allow yearly deployment of as many as 100,000 of the vehicles.  The House bill exempted large commercial trucks, and the Teamsters, which represents about 600,000 truck drivers, is advocating for a similar exclusion in the Senate version.  Teamsters President James Hoffa told Reuters, “I’m concerned about highway safety.  I am concerned about jobs.”

A recent analysis demonstrates that the pay gap between black and white workers is not only persistent but also growing.  The study finds: “these gaps cannot be fully explained by differences in age, education, job type, or location.”

New figures from the Census Bureau this week showed that median household income was up in 2016, while poverty rates declined.  However, as Bloomberg and others noted, income inequality remains “high,” and is unchanged from 2015.


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