Three women sue Google over alleged gender pay disparities

Posted September 16, 2017

Google Inc. was accused of systematically paying male employees more than females, adding the internet giant to a growing list of technology companies sued for gender discrimination.

Former women employees of Google have filed a lawsuit against the company alleging discrimination in payments and promotions.

The text of the complaint specifies that the plaintiffs bring this class action "on behalf of themselves and on behalf of a class defined as all women" employed at Google's headquarters in Mountain View, California.

While Google has been an industry-leading tech innovator, its treatment of female employees has not entered the 21st century, said Kelly Dermody of Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, who was among the lawyers who filed the case.

Google is fighting with the Labor Department of the United States, for the discrimination as the female employees in the company, who are now holding the technology jobs are just 20 percent and for the global workforce they only 31 percent.

A Google spokeswoman said: "We disagree with the central allegations". One of the claimants, feminist engineer Kelly Ellis, took to Twitter to explain that she hopes this transcends the topic of pay discrimination at Google and affects all tech companies. The proposed class action lawsuit comes as Google is facing a sex bias investigation by the US Department of Labor.

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Ellis says that when she was first hired, Google placed her in a "Level 3" job, typically reserved for hires straight out of college. Google then hired a man with similar experience into a higher-level position with "substantially higher salaries and opportunities for bonuses, raises, and equity".

The lawsuit says that Google is aware of the situation, but has not made any move to fix it.

In an exclusive interview with the Guardian, Ellis said the gender pay gap is a deeply ingrained problem at Google, and while "lip service" has been paid by companies that claim to be committed to combating pay disparities, the problem "hasn't really changed".

Google has disputed those findings and said its analysis shows no gender pay gap. "And we have extensive systems in place to ensure that we pay fairly". They also alleged that Google assigned female employees positions that have limited career growth.

Earlier this month, The New York Times published salary data, compiled by almost 1,200 Google employees, which pointed to disparities across pay grades in both salaries and bonuses across pay grades. The sides have been battling in court over how much information Google must turn over.

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