SAN FRANCISCO — When Google conducted a study recently to determine whether the company was underpaying women and members of minority groups, it found, to the surprise of just about everyone, that men were paid less money than women for doing similar work.
The study, which disproportionately led to pay raises for thousands of men, is done every year, but the latest findings arrived as Google and other companies in Silicon Valley face increasing pressure to deal with gender issues in the workplace, from sexual harassment to wage discrimination.
Gender inequality is a radioactive topic at Google. The Labor Department is investigating whether the company systematically underpays women. It has been sued by former employees who claim they were paid less than men with the same qualifications. And last fall, thousands of Google employees protested the way the company handles sexual harassment claims against top executives.
Critics said the results of the pay study could give a false impression. Company officials acknowledged that it did not address whether women were hired at a lower pay grade than men with similar qualifications.