Google Employees Share Their Salaries: Faux Pas?

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A former Google employee recently created an online document that allowed employees to share their salaries with one another.
Having worked in the corporate world, this struck me as a little odd - and quite frankly - bold. I'm not sure that I would ever share my salary with a coworker, for many reasons:

  • What if they don't make as much as me?
  • What if they make more than me, but I feel I deserve more?
  • It's freaking awkward.

The employee, Erica Baker, created the spreadsheet for reasons more than curiosity. Her and another coworker created this in an effort to identify racial and gender pay inequality throughout the company. Once she tweeted that she had created this internal document, other Google employees then started to participate and include their pay information, too. As one can imagine, Erica's manager wasn't too thrilled with this, so they called in her for a verbal slap of the hand. This document not only unveiled other employees' salaries, but it opened employees' eyes to disparities in the bonus system. At Google, fellow employees can nominate each other to receive a $150 random bonus. The catch? The bonus has to be approved by a manager. According to Erica, she received numerous nominations for a bonus because of this document, and her manager refused all of them. The other male employee who helped launched the internal spreadsheet with her also received nominations for this cause, but he was awarded the bonus. What gives?

Of course, there is always more to the story, but the real question lies within the bigger picture: What disparities are there in pay between race, gender and age? Equally pay is a no-brainer, and there should be no reason why someone is paid less than another because of their gender, race, ethnicity, etc. This topic is getting much more publicity lately - which a good thing. Erica must have uncovered something through this project - she no longer works at Google and now works for Slack, a hot tech company worth a cool 2.8 billion.
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What do you think? Was Erica in the right to surface possibly pay disparities among employees?

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