Google – which is owned by parent company Alphabet – has settled a class action sex discrimination lawsuit out of court. The company has agreed to pay the plaintiffs in the case $118 million.
This is not the first such case that Google has settled recently. In 2021, the company agreed to pay $2.5 million to a group of plaintiffs who alleged that it underpaid female engineers and overlooked Asian job applicants.
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As for this suit, which was filed back in 2017, the plaintiffs alleged that Google discriminated against women by offering them less pay than men for the same jobs and by not promoting women at the same rate as men.
“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,” claimed the lawsuit.
The Plaintiffs’ law firms Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein LLP and Altshuler Berzon LLP said that the settlement covers approximately 15,500 female employees in 236 job titles (“covered positions”) in California since September 14, 2013. The Named Plaintiffs in the lawsuit were Kelly Ellis, Holly Pease, Kelli Wisuri, and Heidi Lamar. All of the Plaintiffs are women who worked for Google in California in a covered position since September 14, 2013.
“As a woman who’s spent her entire career in the tech industry, I’m optimistic that the actions Google has agreed to take as part of this settlement will ensure more equity for women,” said Plaintiff Holly Pease. “Google, since its founding, has led the tech industry. They also have an opportunity to lead the charge to ensure inclusion and equity for women in tech.”
Plaintiffs’ co-counsel Kelly Dermody stated, “Plaintiffs believe this settlement advances gender equity at Google and will be precedent-setting for the industry.”
For its part, Google/Alphabet continues to deny culpability, maintaining that the settlement was merely a compromise.
“While we strongly believe in the equity of our policies and practices, after nearly five years of litigation, both sides agreed that resolution of the matter, without any admission or findings, was in the best interest of everyone. We’re very pleased to reach this agreement,” Chris Pappas, a Google spokesman, stated about the settlement.