Google is going to have to pay up $118 million to settle a class-action gender discrimination lawsuit that covers about 15,000 women, according to reports. The settlement’s press release also mentions that Google has to bring in an independent labour economist to evaluate its hiring practices and pay equity studies.
This lawsuit that Google is settling emerged first in 2017 after three women filed a complaint accusing Google of underpaying female workers and violating California’s Equal Pay Act. The women cited a wage gap of around $17,000. It was also alleged, in the complaint, that Google “locks women into lower career tracks, leading to less pay and lower bonuses when compared to their male counterparts”. The plaintiffs won the class-action status in 2021.
As The Verge mentions, Google’s treatment of workers has come under scrutiny more than once. In 2021 Google agreed to pay $2.5 million to settle a lawsuit that accused the company of underpaying female engineers and “overlooking Asian job applicants”.
The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) is also looking into the complaints against Google accusing it of “potential harassment and discrimination against Black female employees”.
The terms of this current settlement will be approved by a judge in a hearing scheduled for June 21.
Google told The Verge in a statement that after nearly five years of litigation, both parties involved have arrived at the conclusion that a resolution, “without any admission or findings”, was in everyone’s best interest and that they are “pleased to reach this arrangement”.
Google also mentioned that it is “absolutely committed” to “paying, hiring and leveling all employees fairly and equally” and that it makes “upward adjustments” if any pay disparity is found between male and female employees.
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