Google has agreed to pay $118 million to resolve a gender discrimination class-action complaint involving around 15,500 female employees. The settlement occurred as a consequence of a lawsuit filed by three women — Kelly Ellis, Holly Pease, and Kelli Wisuri — who accused the corporation of underpaying female employees in violation of California’s Equal Pay Act, citing a $17,000 salary disparity.
The complaint also claims that Google forces women into lower-level positions, resulting in lower pay and bonuses when compared to their male counterparts. The plaintiffs wanted their complaint to be turned into a class action lawsuit that would include any women who worked at Google in the last four years, beginning in 2017.
As requested, the settlement now covers approximately 15,500 female employees in 236 job titles (“covered positions”) in California since September 14, 2013.
In addition to monetary relief, the Settlement mandates that Google’s leveling-at-hire policy and pay equity studies be evaluated by an independent expert. For the next three years, an external Settlement Monitor will oversee post-settlement work.
The plaintiffs believe that if these programmes are implemented, men and women will be compensated equally for equal work. Furthermore, the terms of the settlement must be approved by a judge at a hearing on June 21st. If the settlement is later approved by the court, the third-party administrator will divide the settlement funds according to an objective formula for each person who is eligible to be part of the class.
Regarding the settlement, Holly Pease, one of the plaintiffs, said,
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.
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.
Regarding the settlement, Google said in a statement to The Verge that,
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, and we’re very pleased to reach this agreement,
The company added that it’s “absolutely committed to paying, hiring and levelling all employees fairly and equally,” and that it makes “upward adjustments” if it finds a pay disparity between male and female employees.