A class-action gender discrimination case involving roughly 15,500 women has been settled for $118 million by Google (via Bloomberg). According to the press release announcing the settlement, Google must also have an outside labor economist assess its recruiting procedures and pay equity studies.
Three women filed a complaint in 2017 alleging that the corporation was underpaying female employees in violation of California’s Equal Pay Act, claiming a compensation disparity of about $17,000. According to the lawsuit, Google forces women into lesser-paying career paths, resulting in lower pay and incentives than their male peers. Last year, the plaintiffs were granted class-action status.
More than time, Google’s handling of employees has been questioned. Google agreed to pay $2.5 million to resolve a complaint alleging that it underpaid female engineers and ignored Asian job applications last year. The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) is also looking into allegations of possible harassment and discrimination against Black female employees at the corporation.
In a statement, Holly Pease, a plaintiff in the lawsuit, stated, “As a woman who has spent her entire career in the computer business, I’m confident that the changes Google has promised to do as part of this settlement will ensure more parity for women.” “Since its inception, Google has been at the forefront of the technology sector. They also have the chance to lead the movement for women’s inclusion and equity in the digital industry.”
The details of the settlement must still be authorized by a court at a hearing scheduled for June 21st. “While we strongly believe in the equity of our policies and practices,” Google said in a statement to The Verge, “after nearly five years of litigation, both sides agreed that resolution of the matter, without any admissions or findings, was in everyone’s best interest, and we’re very pleased to reach this agreement.” The firm also stated that it is “totally dedicated to paying, employing, and leveling all workers fairly and equally,” and that if a salary gap between male and female employees is discovered, it makes “upward adjustments.”
Several more cases aimed at closing salary discrepancies have appeared in the previous decade, but class-action gender discrimination litigation against Microsoft and Twitter have stalled. According to Bloomberg Law, Oracle is also facing a class-action lawsuit alleging uneven compensation, but the group of women suing the corporation will likely lose class-action status after a judge declared a class of 3,000 employees and 125 job classifications would be “unmanageable to continue to trial.” Other major firms, such as Apple and Riot Games, have also been accused of salary disparity.