Google to pay $118 million in gender discrimination settlement

Google lawsuit

Alphabet’s Google Inc. has agreed to pay $118 million to settle a class action lawsuit against gender discrimination that challenged the company’s wage and leveling processes, law firms representing the women said in a statement released on Saturday.

The settlement will release Google from allegations that it “paid women in senior positions less than men for substantially comparable work, that Google awarded women lower levels than it assigned men, and that Google did not pay all wages owed to employees on their basis. separation from work.”

The settlement concerns approximately 15,500 female employees who have worked in 236 job titles (“covered positions”) in California since September 14, 2013.

In addition to monetary compensation, the Settlement provides that an independent third-party expert will further analyze Google’s leveling practices. An independent labor economist will also review the company’s wage equality studies. The post-settlement work will be supervised over the next three years by an external Settlement Monitor.

Plaintiffs believe that these programs will ensure that women are paid no less than their male colleagues who do much the same job, and that Google’s challenged leveling practices are fair.

The class-action lawsuit, Ellis v. Google LLC, No. CGC-17-561299 was filed in the San Francisco Superior Court in 2017 by four female former Google employees, Kelly Ellis, Holly Please, Kelli Wisuri and Heidi Lamar. These plaintiffs were represented by law firms Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein LLP and Altshuler Berzon LLP.

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit accused Google of underpaying female employees in violation of California’s Equal Pay Act, citing a pay gap of approximately $17,000. The complaint also alleges that the women were denied promotions or transfers to other teams compared to their male counterparts, which reduced their career progression.

“As a woman who has spent her entire career in the tech industry, I am optimistic that the actions Google has taken as part of this settlement will bring greater equality to women,” said prosecutor Holly Pease, who has spent more than a decade before suing the company.

“Google has led the tech industry since its inception. They also have the opportunity to lead the way to ensure inclusion and equality for women in technology.”

Plaintiffs’ co-lawyer Kelly Dermody said, “Plaintiffs believe this settlement promotes gender equality at Google and will set a precedent for the industry.”

“Google has long been a technology leader. We are pleased that in this Settlement Agreement and Order, Google also reaffirms its commitment to be a leader in ensuring equal pay and equal employment opportunity for all of their employees,” said Jim Finberg, the plaintiffs’ co-counselor.

The terms of the settlement will be reviewed by a judge at a preliminary hearing on June 21, 2022. If the court provisionally approves the settlement, a third-party administrator will notify the settlement class members. If the court later grants final settlement approval, the third-party administrator will allocate the settlement amounts to each eligible class member based on an objective formula.

“While we strongly believe in the fairness of our policies and practices, after nearly five years of litigation, both sides agreed that a resolution of the matter, without any acknowledgment or findings, was in the best interests of all, and we are very happy to reach this agreement,” Google spokesman Chris Pappas said of the settlement.

The spokesperson also added that the company is “absolutely committed to paying, employing and equalizing all employees fairly and equally” when it comes to salary, recruitment and promotion, and is making “upward adjustments” if it notes that there is a wage difference between male and female employees.

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