Former Google Employees Seek Class-Action Lawsuit For Company Discrimination
Four former Google employees have filed a lawsuit against the company with the claim that Google pays their female employees less than their male counterparts and offers women fewer benefits. The group of women are now calling on a California judge to grant the lawsuit class-action status, which would allow them to represent 10,800 other female Google employees, according to a report by Business Insider.
In the suit, the women said, "Google paid women less base salary, smaller bonuses, and less stock than men in the same job code and location.”
If the suit gains class-action status, it would represent women in all levels of Google. More than half of them are software engineers.
The women contend that Google violated California’s Equal Pay Act and Unfair Competition Law by asking job candidates about their prior salaries. These questions led to lower pay for Google’s female employees.
The suit claims that women are paid about $16,794 less than men in similar positions, which is an estimate based on an analysis by University of California Irvine economist David Neumark.
According to Neumark’s estimate, Google could face $600 million in damages should the lawsuit achieve class-action status and the plaintiffs win. The lawsuit was first filed in 2017, and Google initially asked a judge to dismiss it. Google’s request was denied in 2018. The request for class-action status happened this week.
Last May, a similar gender discrimination lawsuit against Oracle was granted class-action status. However, similar suits against Twitter and Microsoft were denied the status in 2015.
A class-certification hearing for the Google suit is scheduled for December 2.
Heidi Lamar, one of the plaintiffs of the suit, says she was told her lower pay was attributed to her performance at work and the quality of her initial job review. However, a Google evaluation of her interview should that she had earned a high score from her interviewers than other male employees.
"I felt very vindicated when I saw my interview scores were higher than my male colleagues," she said. "I suspected as much, but it was nice to have it proven."
Eileen Naughton, Google’s vice president for people’s operations, said, “Every year we run a rigorous pay equity analysis to make sure salaries, bonuses and equity awards are fair. If we find any differences in proposed pay, including between men and women, we make upward adjustments. Last year, we made upward adjustments for 2% of employees, across every demographic category, totaling $5.1 million. We also undertake rigorous analyses to ensure fairness in role leveling and performance ratings."
Read the full report here.