Women claim HPE paid more to men
Bay Area business-tech giant Hewlett Packard Enterprise illegally pays women less than men for the same work, a new lawsuit alleges.
Two former HPE employees are seeking classaction status for the lawsuit filed Thursday afternoon in Santa Clara County Superior Court.
“Men are not earning more because they do more of the jobs that pay better,” alleged the plaintiffs, identified in the complaint as R. Ross and C. Rogus.
“Instead, men are earning more in the same jobs or jobs of equal value. This is pay discrimination and is illegal under California law.”
HPE said it would evaluate the lawsuit fully. “HPE is committed to ensuring we compensate our employees fairly, and we take any concerns raised by our employees seriously and investigate them fully,” the company said in a statement Thursday. “We will evaluate the complaint thoroughly when we receive it.”
Rogus, previously a business analyst for a mortgage company, was hired by Palo Alto-based HPE in April 2013, and worked for the firm in Roseville, near Sacramento, for five years on a project for U.S. Veterans Affairs, according to the lawsuit. When the male project manager leading her team died, she accepted the company’s
offer to take his position, conditional on a raise to match the added responsibility and a title change to reflect the new role, the suit said. The firm gave her a 2 percent performance-based pay hike, but still paid her less than her deceased predecessor and didn’t change her title, the suit alleged.
Ross, a 16-year employee who started as a business analyst in sales
at Hewlett-Packard and climbed job ladders to a position in HPE as a director of sales operations, “was privy to financial documents and, on at least one occasion, received a file including salary information of her male colleagues,” the lawsuit said.
Ross discovered that the base pay of men hired at HPE since 2014 was higher than it was for women hired around the same time, even for women with more experience within the company, the suit claimed. A former
superior who had access to additional salary information told her that Ross’s male peers doing equal or similar work were getting paid more than she was, the suit alleged.
The suit further claimed that the HPE website had contained an advisory for employees discouraging them from talking with each other about pay. “Don’t compare yourselves to your co-workers,” the advisory allegedly said. “Your compensation should be about you and your performance. By talking about your coworkers,
you detract from that point.”
Ross and Rogus are seeking the court’s certification of the lawsuit as a class action, which would bring in women in a variety of jobs, including in software engineering, sales, PR, HR, administration and operations, who worked at HPE in California in the previous four years. The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages and compensation for alleg- edly unpaid wages.