Google to pay out massive settlement in ‘gender discrimination’ lawsuit

It’s a drop in the bucket, money-wise, for Google’s parent company, Alphabet, but the tech giant will soon have to sign checks for some 15,500 current and former female employees as a result of a massive class-action lawsuit centered around “gender discrimination.”

The lawsuit, which has been litigated for roughly five years, alleges that the company denied women of obtaining promotions, placed overqualified women in roles that were paid less, and paid its female employees, overall, less than their male counterparts, The Wall Street Journal reported

“The lawsuit first emerged in 2017 after three women filed a complaint accusing the company of underpaying female workers in violation of California’s Equal Pay Act, citing a wage gap of around $17,000,” The Verge reported.

The lawsuit also accused Alphabet of placing women in particular career tracks that resulting overall lower pay than male workers of the same skillset.

As a part of the settlement, Alphabet will also be required to utilize a third-party expert to audit its HR practices. Other experts will be brought in to analyze pay equity within the company for the next three years.

“[The plaintiffs] believe these programs will help ensure that women are not paid less than their male counterparts who perform substantially similar work, and that Google’s challenged leveling practices are equitable,” the plaintiff’s attorneys said in a statement.

Four of the plaintiffs are named in the lawsuit — Kelly Ellis, Holly Pease, Kelli Wisuri, and Heidi Lamar.

The legal action was elevated to a class action by a San Fransisco judge just over one year ago, in May 2021, meaning that instead of multiple, costly individual suits against Alphabet, all of the plaintiffs — 15,500 of them in total — could combine their lawsuits into one major action.

The lawsuit action comes on the heels of another discrimination suit from 2021 in which Google was ordered to pay out $3.8 million to a group of female engineers.

The female engineers, in that case, argued that they were paid less than their male counterparts, and also alleged that Google discriminated against Asian women, specifically.

A number of other major Silicon Valley tech players, such as Uber, Twitter, and Microsoft, have faced similar gender discrimination and workplace culture-related lawsuits in recent years.

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