Last week, a former Google engineer tweeted that she crowdsourced a spreadsheet with thousands of her colleagues’ salaries, and that management had not been happy about it.
The spreadsheet, Erica Baker tweeted, had highlighted what she alleged were troubling patterns in the way people were paid.
On Tuesday, after failing to respond to repeated requests for comment over the course of several days, Google finally issued a statement.
"Our policy is not to comment on individual or former employees, but we can confirm that we regularly run analysis of compensation, promotion, and performance to ensure that they are equitable with no pay gap," a Google spokesperson said.
Baker, who is now an engineer at the workplace messaging company Slack, also said via Twitter that her managers had repeatedly declined to approve the “peer bonuses”—a $150 award Googlers can dole out to colleagues — that her co-workers began giving her for circulating the spreadsheet. Baker's tweets suggested this was a form of reprimand for the spreadsheet. A Google spokesperson would not comment on that specifically, but said that "employees are free to share their salaries with one another if they choose."
Baker also repeatedly declined to comment on the matter outside of Twitter, though she has been outspoken about negative experiences she endured as a minority at Google in the past.
Google stressed that the data Baker's spreadsheet collected was not a representative sample of employees and lacked context like performance and tenure. In other words, Google suggests that any imbalances in pay in the spreadsheet are the result of bad data, rather than biased internal pay scales.
But on Friday, Baker tweeted that the inequities the data revealed resulted in real change for some co-workers. When she left Google, about 5 percent of Googlers had shared their data in the spreadsheet, she said. Since then it has grown even larger.
"People asked for and got equitable pay based on the data in that sheet," she tweeted.