Google Employees Have Been Sharing A Doc With Their Salary Info

Photo: Adam Berry/Getty Images.
Update: Google responded to our request for comment with the following 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. Employees are free to share their salaries with one another if they choose."

This story was originally published at 11:20 on July 21.


Sharing salary info among coworkers is generally frowned upon, even though employers cannot fire you for doing so. Still, it's certainly a taboo topic, even in the progressive tech world. So, when former Google employee Erica Baker began tweeting about an internal spreadsheet she created where employees could share their compensation packages, the internet perked up.

It's not too surprising to learn that all salaries are not created equal at Google, even between two employees who do the same job. Laszlo Bock wrote about it in his book, Work Rules. What is surprising is how unhappy Baker's manager was when she created the doc and shared it on Google's internal network.

Baker outlined their conversations in her Twitter story. When her manager expressed concern, Baker reminded her that companies can't stop employees from sharing their salaries. Of course, that doesn't mean they have to like it. And while Baker wasn't fired and the doc wasn't taken down, she was punished.

Google has a peer bonus program, where one employee can recommend that another receive a $150 bonus. According to Baker's account, at least seven employees sent peer bonuses to her, and her manager denied all seven. She didn't even realize it was something a manager could deny until a coworker mentioned that he had sent one, but Baker never received it.

Baker also noted that she wasn't the only Google employee complicit in the launch of this doc. A white male colleague was also involved. He was never reprimanded and received all of his peer bonuses.

Management may not have loved the salary document, but employees did. Nearly 5% of the company shared their salaries, and the spreadsheet included details like gender, job title, years of experience, and bonuses. Baker claimed that the doc helped several employees to negotiate for bigger salaries — which is the whole argument for salary transparency in the first place.

Of course, the internet hasn't been too kind to Baker since she tweeted her story, accusing her of being money-obssessed. Baker was quick to fire back that it wasn't about how much she made, but about removing the aura of mystery around salaries.

Neither Google or Baker responded to our requests for comment. You can read Baker's entire Twitter story below.
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