Google sued over alleged ‘systematic’ gender pay discrimination


The complaint was filed in a San Francisco court and is seeking class action status in order to cover all females employed by Google in California over the last four years.

Three women who used to work for Google have filed a lawsuit against the tech giant, claiming it systematically pays women less than men for doing similar work.

They also accuse the company of denying or limiting promotions and career opportunities to women, who are just as qualified as males but are “segregated” into lower-paying jobs. The complaint was filed in a San Francisco court and is seeking class action status in order to cover all females employed by Google in California over the last four years.

Kelly Ellis, a former software engineer at Google and one of the women that filed the suit, tweeted that she hoped the move would force Google and other tech companies to change their practices. James Finberg, one of the civil rights lawyers involved in the case, told the Guardian newspaper, meanwhile, that more than 90 women who previously or currently worked at the firm had contacted him about getting involved in a potential class action.

Google said it would review the complaint but disagreed with its “central allegations”. Spokeswoman Gina Scigliano attested in a statement: “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.”

But like other Silicon Valley firms, Google has faced questions over its treatment of women before. Despite claiming it has eliminated its gender pay gap, it is currently under investigation by the US Department of Labor, which found systematic pay disparities during its 2015 audit, the lawsuit said.

The government sued Google in January in a bid to gain access to more information to see if such patterns were consistent across other years. The New York Times newspaper, on the other hand, obtained an internal Google spreadsheet that showed women were paid on average less than men within the same job level and tended to receive lower bonuses.

Google claimed the spreadsheet was not representative and failed to take into account factors such as job performance and whether staff were in higher-paying technical roles.