The Search Google Didn’t Want to See: Gender-Based Pay Disparity

The Search Google Didn’t Want to See: Gender-Based Pay Disparity

On the heels of an exciting set of new product launches from Apple this week, Silicon Valley is reeling again with alleged gender-related discrimination issues.  This time its Google and the suit is being pursued by three former Googlers, Kelly Ellis, Holly Pease, and Kelli Wisuri who claim that women at Google are underpaid compared to men and are often denied promotions.  They are also want to make this a class action suit representing all women who have worked at Google in the last four years.

“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 lawsuit claims.

All three women claim they were paid less and started and were hired at lower-level job tiers than their male counterparts.   Google emphatically denies the plaintiff’s assertions, but this isn’t the first run in with these complaints for the tech giant.  The Department of Labor is investigating Google for similar claims and in a recent NY Times article,  “At Google, Employee-Led Effort Finds Men Are Paid More than Men,” a survey of 1,200 employees reflected discrepancies in pay between the sexes. 

The women and their attorney believe that part of the alleged pay disparity comes from the tiered pay system used by Google.  Googlers in higher tiers get higher pay and have access to bigger bonuses.  James Finberg, an attorney representing the trio, believes there is enough “statistical evidence” to support a class action suit for all women who have worked at Google in the last four year.

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Stories like this abound in the high-tech industry and it is part of the reason you are seeing dramatic changes being enacted, with law changes, in places like New York City (and up to 20 states), making it illegal to ask about a job candidates salary history.  The law is effective October 1, 2017 and not only includes asking the question verbally but also through electronic job applications.  Some organizations managing job boards and applicant sites are removing that question from their applications, just to be safe. 

At this point, the claims from the three former Googlers are allegations.  If these are discovered to be true and, if a class action suit is filed and ultimately won, it would have huge ramifications for hiring and pay practices in the high-tech industry.  Only time will tell how this pans out.

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Written by, Darin Hartley, Director of Marketing for Syntrio


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