Female Workers Sue Google for Gender Discrimination

Three former Google employees have filed a class-action suit against the company alleging that it systematically channels female staff members into job levels and ladders with lower pay and fewer opportunities for advancement.

Kelly Ellis, a former Google software engineer, Holly Pease, an ex-Google network manager, and Kelli Wisuri, who was a sales communications specialist and brand "evangelist," filed their complaint yesterday in the Superior Court of California in San Francisco. They are seeking back wages with interest, along with damages and an end to Google's "unfair and unlawful business practices."

Google was already facing a lawsuit filed earlier this year by the U.S. Department of Labor, which since 2015 has been seeking employment data from the company to gauge its compliance with equal opportunity requirements for federal contractors. Google has to date declined to provide the requested data, saying in a statement that the records being requested are "overbroad in scope, or reveal confidential data."

Disparities Leading to 'Perpetual Unfairness'

According to the complaint filed by Ellis, Pease, and Wisuri, Google's compensation and promotion policies violate the California Equal Pay Act and demonstrate "willful" discrimination by channeling women into lower-paying job classifications and ladders.

The lawsuit contends that all three plaintiffs were placed into lower-level job categories than male employees with comparable backgrounds and skills, and that all three were denied the advancement opportunities given to their male counterparts.

"Google performs internal pay equity analyses on an annual basis," according to the complaint. "Google is also required to maintain records of the wage rates, job classifications, and other terms and conditions of employment of all of its employees throughout California. Google therefore knew or should have known that it paid female employees less than it paid their male counterparts for performing substantially equal or similar work, yet Google took no steps...

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