Published: Sat, September 16, 2017
IT | By Jonathon Greene

Lawsuit launched against Google for gender bias in pay and promotion

Lawsuit launched against Google for gender bias in pay and promotion

Three former employees filed a lawsuit on Thursday against Google accusing the company of discriminating against female employees by paying them lower wages than men and denying promotions.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of three former Google employees, Kelly Ellis, Holly Pease and Kelli Wisuri, who said they believe they received fewer opportunities and less pay than their male counterparts.

The three women worked at Google as a software engineer, a communications specialist and a manager who worked in various roles, respectively.

The lawsuit was brought forward after the Labor Department's investigation prompted attorney James Finberg to ask female employees to come forward if they had experienced pay discrimination.

However, the plaintiffs said that Google violated the California laws requiring equal pay for similar work and prohibiting unfair and unlawful business practices.

Gina Scigliano, a Google spokesperson, said in a statement to NPR that "we disagree with the central allegations" in the lawsuit.

The lawsuit arrives in the wake of a legal battle with the US Department of Labor, which sued Google in January to force it to provide employee compensation data. The legal action is now seeking class-action status to represent all women discriminated against by the company over the past four years. Although Ellis had four years of experience in software engineering, she was placed into Level 3 on her compensation "ladder", a level that mostly typically assigned to new college graduates, the complaint stated.

The suit cites data from a 2015 review of Google's employment practices by the U.S. Department of Labor's contract compliance unit that's the subject of a separate federal administrative complaint against the company.

Meanwhile, in a fresh onslaught on Google, James Damore - the engineer who was sacked by the company over a memo criticising its's diversity efforts - said that the tech giant was discriminating in hiring practices.

She went on to say the company has "extensive systems" to ensure its employees are paid fairly. Similarly, Wisuri, who graduated from the University of California and had two years of experience under her belt, was put in the lowest level available for permanent full-time employees.

IN recent months, tech giant Google has been facing problems over treatment towards its female workers amid a media firestorm that has stirred larger debate about gender bias in the male-dominated tech industry. "But on all these topics, if we ever see individual discrepancies or problems, we work to fix them", she said.

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