Google hit with law­suit over gen­der pay

Houston Chronicle - - BUSINESS - By Ryan Nakashima

MENLO PARK, Calif. — Google faces a new law­suit ac­cus­ing it of gen­der-based pay dis­crim­i­na­tion. A lawyer rep­re­sent­ing three fe­male for­mer Google em­ploy­ees is seek­ing class ac­tion status for the claim.

The suit, filed Thurs­day in San Fran­cisco Su­pe­rior Court, fol­lows a fed­eral la­bor in­ves­ti­ga­tion that made a pre­lim­i­nary find­ing of sys­temic pay dis­crim­i­na­tion among the 21,000 em­ploy­ees at Google’s head­quar­ters in Moun­tain View, Calif. The ini­tial stages of the re­view found women earned less than men in nearly every job clas­si­fi­ca­tion.

Google dis­putes those find­ings and says its anal­y­sis shows no gen­der pay gap.

The suit, led by lawyer James Fin­berg, is on be­half of three women — Kelly El­lis, Holly Pease and Kelli Wisuri — who all quit af­ter al­legedly be­ing put on ca­reer tracks that they claimed would pay them less than their male coun­ter­parts. The suit aims to rep­re­sent thou­sands of Google em­ploy­ees in Cal­i­for­nia and seeks lost wages and a slice of Google’s prof­its.

“I have come for­ward to cor­rect a per­va­sive prob­lem of gen­der bias at Google,” El­lis said in a state­ment. She says she quit Google in 2014 af­ter male en­gi­neers with sim­i­lar ex­pe­ri­ence were hired to higher-pay­ing job lev­els and she was de­nied a pro­mo­tion de­spite ex­cel­lent per­for­mance re­views. “It is time to stop ig­nor­ing these is­sues in tech.”

Google spokes­woman Gina Scigliano said the com­pany will re­view the suit in de­tail, “but we dis­agree with the cen­tral al­le­ga­tions.”

“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,” she said.

Charges of gen­der dis­crim­i­na­tion have swirled at Al­pha­bet-owned Google since the U.S. La­bor De­part­ment sued in Jan­uary to bar Google from do­ing busi­ness with the fed­eral gov­ern­ment un­til it re­leased thou­sands of doc­u­ments re­lated to an au­dit over its pay prac­tices. The sides have been bat­tling in court over how much in­for­ma­tion Google must turn over.

The law­suit also fol­lows the fir­ing of male en­gi­neer James Damore, who wrote a memo cir­cu­lated on in­ter­nal mes­sage boards that blamed in­her­ent dif­fer­ences be­tween men and women for the un­der­rep­re­sen­ta­tion of women in en­gi­neer­ing roles.

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