Human Resources News & Insights

Stage set for landmark equal pay lawsuit: What’s at stake in Google’s HR nightmare?

After the PR nightmare it suffered following a male staffer’s memo on “gender stereotypes,” Google is now facing an even bigger headache — a pay-discrimination claim that could become a class-action suit with thousands of class members.

Google has just been hit with a lawsuit for gender-based pay discrimination by three female former workers who are attempting to seek class status for their suit.

The three ex-employees who filed the suit quit after being placed in career tracks that they claim would pay them less than their male counterparts.

One of the ex-employees, Kelly Ellis, said: “I have come forward to correct a pervasive problem of gender bias at Google. It is time to stop ignoring these issues in tech.”

Ellis says she quit Googe in 2014 after male engineers with similar experience were hired to higher-paying job levels and being denied a promotion despite stellar performance reviews.

While Google didn’t comment on the suit directly, a spokesperson for the company did defend its commitment to equal pay by stating:

“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.” 

Potential for thousands of class members

If class status is granted, thousands of Google employees in California would be seeking lost wages as well as a portion of the company’s profits.

This lawsuits comes on the heels of a federal labor investigation into Google’s pay practices. The preliminary finding of that investigation uncovered systematic pay discrimination among 21,000 employees at Google’s headquarters.

The initial stages of the review found women earned less than men in nearly every job classification.

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  • Beth

    I don’t understand why big names like this make silly mistakes in recruitment. It could be easily avoided by using HR tech to stay as objective as possible (more on that here: http://bit.ly/2xa1X5w). You can talk about how diverse and open your company is all you want, but if you aren’t actually taking action, nothing will change. Find the best person for the position, not someone to fit the diversity quota (or other biased reasons).