Women suing Google over gender bias win class-action status
Shortly after facing class-action lawsuits for tracking browsing activity in incognito mode, an existing gender pay disparity suit against search giant Google has won class-action status. The suit filed by four ex-Google women employees alleges that Google violated the California Equal Pay Act by paying them less and promoting them less frequently than their male peers. Here are more details.
Class-action status means plaintiffs can represent over 10,000 women employees
Bloomberg reported that a San Francisco state judge granted class-action status to a lawsuit filed by four women who sued Google for $600 million in damages. The class-action status means the four plaintiffs would be able to represent around 10,800 women employed at Google since 2013. This includes women employed as engineers, program managers, sales executives, and at least one preschool teacher, Engadget reported.
Plaintiffs allege that Google pays women less, promotes less frequently
The plaintiffs allege that Google paid women less and even promoted them slowly and less frequently. Engadget reported that the filing cited an analysis by UC Irvine economist David Neumark. The economist estimated that female Google employees earn approximately $16,800 less than a "similarly situated man". According to the suit, Google's now-discontinued use of previous salary information didn't help address wage gaps.
Original suit filed in 2017, initially rejected for being vague
The original lawsuit was filed in 2017 by Kelly Ellis, Holly Pease, and Kelli Wisuri was dismissed by a judge for being "too vague". The following year, the lawsuit was resubmitted with an additional plaintiff Heidi Lamar. Ellis took to Twitter to call the suit's class-action status a "huge" decision. Interestingly, this isn't Google's first rodeo facing a pay discrimination lawsuit.
Plaintiff Ellis celebrated lawsuit's class-action status grant on Twitter
OUR CLASS WAS CERTIFIED IN ELLIS V. GOOGLE!— Kelly Ellis (@justkelly_ok) May 27, 2021
This means the judge agreed we can sue as a class, rather than each individual woman needing to sue for relief. This is HUGE.
The class includes over 10,800 women affected by Google's gender bias.
Google recently settled a suit alleging systemic pay, hiring discrimination
In February this year, Google reached a settlement with the Department of Labor when it agreed to pay $2.6 million in back pay and interest to female employees and female and Asian applicants who weren't hired due to systemic biases. At the time, the company had also promised to channel $1.35 million toward pay-equity adjustments over the next five years.