Three women formerly employed at Google are accusing the search giant of discriminating against them based on gender. Their lawyer is seeking class-action status, to represent thousands of Google’s women employees across California, according to the complaint filed with the California Superior Court.
“Google has discriminated and continues to discriminate against its female employees by systematically paying them lower compensation than Google pays to male employees performing substantially similar work under similar working conditions,” the suit alleges.
Google denies any pay gap, according to its own analysis.
The former employees alleging discrimination, Kelly Ellis, Holly Pease and Kelli Wisuri, quit their jobs at Google, they say, because they were assigned to positions that paid them less than their male colleagues.
The lawsuit comes just a few months after Google faced a probe by the Department of Labor over its employee pay after the agency found evidence of systemic pay discrimination resulting in lower wages for women.
The Department of Labor asked Google to provide data for its employee pay after the agency found evidence of systemic pay discrimination resulting in lower wages for women. However, an administrative law judge ruled Google did not need to hand over all the data requested by the Department of Labor, calling the request “over-broad” and “unduly burdensome.”
Gender issues also roiled the Google campus back in August when a male engineer, James Damore, posted a memo on internal message boards that blamed innate differences between men and women as reason for fewer women in engineering roles.
Google, however, said it disagrees with the premise of the lawsuit.
“We work really hard to create a great workplace for everyone, and to give everyone the chance to thrive here. In relation to this particular lawsuit, we'll review it in detail, but we disagree with the central allegations,” the company said in a statement. “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. And we have extensive systems in place to ensure that we pay fairly. But on all these topics, if we ever see individual discrepancies or problems, we work to fix them, because Google has always sought to be a great employer, for every one of our employees.”