Women claim HPE paid more to men

The Mercury News - - Business + Technology - By Ethan Baron ebaron@ ba­yare­anews­group.com

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.

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