Google sued for discrimination against women employees

Todd Singleton
September 16, 2017

Three women filed a gender bias class action against Google on Thursday, claiming the technology titan pays them substantially less than men for performing similar work.

The lawsuit also states that Google systematically pays women employees lower compensation and also stations women in jobs and departments where there is less chance of moving up in rank.

If class action is permitted, the plaintiffs will represent all women who have worked for Google since 2013. The former employees claim the company consistently pays men more for doing similar work as women in similar conditions.

The suit seeks unspecified "wages due" and damages, as well as shares of Google, profits from the companies "unlawful and/or unfair business practices".

In a statement to The Associated Press, Google spokeswoman Gina Scigliano said the company will review the suit but disagrees "with the central allegations". In April, a Labor Department investigation of the tech firm found evidence of "systemic compensation disparities".

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As an example, the complaint describes the experience of Ellis, who, despite having four years of experience in backend software engineering, when hired at Google was placed on the Level 3 Software Engineering ladder, for college graduates, rather than the Level 4 ladder for more experienced coders.

-Kelly EllisKelly Ellis, one of the plaintiffs in the case, says she quit her job at Google in 2014 after being denied a promotion despite outstanding performance reviews and qualifications.

The suit comes with the US Labor Department auditing pay practices into possible gender discrimination.

Pease, who had worked for the company for several years, was kept on the lower "non-technical" ladder which holds less opportunity for promotions and less compensation than the "technical" ladder despite her multiple leadership positions and experience at managing those on the "technical ladder". James Damore, who ignited a firestorm in August with a 10-page memo blasting Google's "left bias" for creating a "politically correct monoculture", has said the company "shamed" him for the views expressed in the memo and has filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board. Ellis was put into less-prestigious front-end development team, although she had experience in backend development, the department in Google where the company nearly exclusively hires male employees, alleged Ellis. They also alleged that Google assigned female employees positions that have limited career growth.

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