Google is facing this week a lawsuit by three female ex-employees, the second time in recent months the tech giant has been accused of paying female workers less than men.
SiliconValley.com reports that three female former Google employees have filed a lawsuit against the tech giant alleging gender pay discrimination within the company and a “sexist culture.” These allegations come just a few months after Google was accused of systemic gender pay discrimination by the U.S. Department of Labor. The female employees allege that women are “segregated” into lower paying jobs which greatly hampers their advancement within the company, while male employees with fewer qualifications are fast-tracked to higher positions.
James Finberg, the lawyer representing the three women, said in a statement, “This is not just about three women trying to get money, this is about three courageous women stepping forward to change the company, to help women in the future and to change the Valley as a whole.” The legal action is currently seeking class-action status to represent all women discriminated against by the company over the past four years. Plaintiff Kelly Ellis stated, “It was time to stand up and say, ‘This isn’t OK, this isn’t fair, and no more. It really feels like a good time to be bringing this lawsuit, because people are waking up to the fact that sexism is pervasive and real in Silicon Valley and in the technology industry.”
Finberg stated that the case brought against Google would rely heavily on testimony from the U.S. Department of Labor’s hearings which showed, “statistically significant (compensation) disparities adverse to women across the board.” Google spokeswoman Gina Scigliano stated that the company disagrees with “central allegations” in the plaintiff’s case. “We work really hard to create a great workplace for everyone, and to give everyone the chance to thrive here,” Scigliano said. “Job levels and promotions are determined through rigorous hiring and promotion committees, and must pass multiple levels of review, including checks to make sure there is no gender bias in these decisions. Scigliano continued, “We have extensive systems in place to ensure that we pay fairly. But on all these topics, if we ever see individual discrepancies or problems, we work to fix them.”
Adriana Gascoigne, CEO of the non-profit Girls In Tech, stated that this issue was not just specific to Google, “There is a systemic problem where women are getting paid less than their male counterparts for doing the same exact job, because employers can get away with it,” Gascoigne said. “I’m glad that these women are coming forward and holding this tech giant accountable because it needs to happen in order to create change,” said Gascoigne.
The suit seeks unspecified “wages due” and damages, as well as shares of Google, profits from the companies “unlawful and/or unfair business practices.” The suit also requests Google to stop paying their female employees less than male employees.