Human Resources News & Insights

Court dismisses Google’s equal pay lawsuit, but company’s not off the hook yet

After a series of blows against its pay practices, a judge finally granted Google some good news. But the ruling also made it clear the tech juggernaut’s legal saga wasn’t over yet.

San Francisco Superior Court Judge Mary E. Wiss dismissed the class proposed in a class-action lawsuit against Google, which claimed the company systematically paid male employees more than females.

Specifically, Judge Wiss said the class status, which sought to cover “all women employed by Google in California” was too broad. According to Wiss,

“This class definition does not purport to distinguish between female employees who may have valid claims against Google based upon its alleged conduct from those who do not.”


As HR Morning reported previously, 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 she quit Google in 2014 after male engineers with similar experience were hired to higher-paying job levels and after she was denied a promotion despite stellar performance reviews.

What’s next?

While Judge Wiss dismissed the initial class status proposed by the plaintiffs, she is allowing the women to file an amended complaint.

And the plaintiffs’ attorney, James Finberg, says he intends to do just that — by Jan. 3. Finberg says the amended complaint will make it clear “that Google violates the California Equal Pay Act by paying women less than men for substantially equal work in nearly every job classification.”

Those claims against the company were echoed by a recent 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, and the initial stages of the review found women earned less than men in nearly every job classification.

The final outcome of this equal pay lawsuit could have implications for employers of all stripes, so we’ll keep you updated. Stay tuned!

Cite: Ellis v. Google Inc.


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