Google has settled a class action lawsuit accusing it of systematically underpaying women, promising to provide $ 118 million in cash and invite outsiders to review payroll practices.
Three former Google employees sued the company in early 2017 in Ellis v. Google LLC, claiming that it paid women less than men for the same job; a fourth plaintiff was added later. A judge from the Supreme Court of San Francisco must now approve the Friday settlement, which includes around 15,500 women employed in California by Google in 236 different job titles since September 14, 2013.
For Google, which is proud of an egalitarian ethos, the long-running legal dispute was an unpleasant topic. It coincided with gender discrimination lawsuits against technical colleagues Microsoft and Oracle that have had mixed results. The women who sued the software company Oracle faced a setback on Friday, Bloomberg Law reported earlier, when a judge deprived the plaintiffs of their status as class actions.
“While we have great faith in the fairness of our policies and practices, after nearly five years of litigation, both sides agreed that the resolution of the case, without any admission or finding, was in everyone’s interest,” said Chris Pappas, a Google spokesman. said in a statement. “We are very excited to reach this agreement.” Google has been analyzing payroll liquidity for the past nine years and raising employees’ salaries when necessary, he added.
For three years after a formal approval of the settlement, Google will allow third-party experts to consider how they can improve their payroll liquidity process and be more equitable when establishing rankings and salaries for new hires. There will also be an external monitor to assess whether the company follows the experts’ recommendations, according to companies representing the plaintiffs, Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein and Altshuler Berzon.
“As a woman who has spent her entire career in the technology industry, I am optimistic that the actions Google has agreed to take as part of this settlement will ensure more equality for women,” said Holly Pease, one of the plaintiffs, in a statement.