Google has promised to pay $118 million to settle a years-long gender discrimination class action lawsuit alleging the internet giant unfairly pays men more than women.
The case, launched in 2017, was led by three women, Kelly Ellis, Holly Pease and Kelli Wisuri, who filed a lawsuit alleging the search giant hires women in lower-paying positions than men when they have the same qualifications. Female staff are also less likely to be promoted, it has been claimed.
Gender discrimination also exists within the same level of employment, the complaint states. Google has been accused of paying women less than their male counterparts for doing the same job. The lawsuit was later turned into a class action when a fourth woman, Heidi Lamar, joined as a plaintiff. The class is said to cover over 15,000 people.
Ellis joined Google in 2010 as a front-end software developer at a level three engineer, a level for those considered early in their careers. She claimed that a male colleague with a similar background joined the company and was placed in level four. When she applied for a promotion, it was turned down. She left Google in 2014.
Pease had a long career at Google, spanning over a decade. She has held several leadership positions in various parts of the web goliath, including enterprise network engineering and enterprise systems integration. However, her bosses told her she “lacks technical ability”, it has been claimed. At Google, non-technical people are generally paid less than those in technical roles. Pease argued that she should have been considered a technical worker, given her experience and ability, and that she had more pay.
Meanwhile, Wisuri was working as a level two employee in sales and was one step away from being officially recognized as an official salesperson. Men were often hired at level three. Almost all workers on the official sales ladder were men, she said, while women made up 50% of the lower sales activation ladder. She resigned in 2015.
Finally, Lamar joined the lawsuit when she discovered that nearly all men were paid more than women as preschool teachers at Google’s Children Center in Palo Alto. She had filed her own complaint against the company before the lawsuits were merged into one.
Now, Google has agreed to pay those women and about 15,500 other employees who held 236 different job titles up to $118 million — less attorney fees and other legal costs — to settle allegations that it allegedly violated California laws relating to equal pay, unfair competition, and business and professional codes [PDF].
“While we strongly believe in the fairness of our policies and practices, after nearly five years of litigation, both parties have agreed that resolving the matter, without any admission or finding, is in everyone’s best interests. , and we are very pleased to reach this agreement,” said a Google spokesperson. The register in a statement Monday.
“We are absolutely committed to paying, hiring and leveling all employees fairly and equitably and over the past nine years we have held a rigorous pay equity analysis to ensure that salaries, bonuses and stock awards are fair. If we find any differences in the compensation offered, including between men and women, we make upward adjustments to remove them before the new compensation takes effect, and we will continue to do so.
“In 2020 alone, we made upward adjustments for 2,352 employees, across nearly every demographic, for a total of $4.4 million. We also undertake rigorous analyzes to ensure fairness in the role leveling and performance reviews We are very happy to have an advisor review these processes and make recommendations for future improvement.
As part of the proposed settlement, Google also agreed to hire an independent third-party expert and labor economist to analyze its hiring practices and pay equity.
“As a woman who has spent her entire career in the tech industry, I’m optimistic that the steps Google has agreed to take in this settlement will ensure more fairness for women,” the company said. complainant Holly Pease. said in a report. “Google, since its inception, has led the tech industry. They also have the opportunity to lead the charge to ensure the inclusion and equity of women in tech.”
A San Francisco court will decide whether to approve the settlement at a hearing scheduled for June 21. ®