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Google will pay $118 million to settle a gender wage gap class-action suit

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What you need to know

  • Google has agreed to settle a $118 million pay equity class-action suit.
  • According to the lawsuit, the company underpays female employees for comparable jobs.
  • The settlement covers approximately 15,500 female employees in 236 job titles.

Google has agreed to pay $118 million to settle a class-action lawsuit filed by former female employees who claimed they were paid less for comparable jobs than their male counterparts.

In a press release (opens in new tab), the law firms representing the plaintiffs announced that the affected employees had reached an agreement with Google, subject to preliminary settlement approval by a judge. Google is also required to open up its hiring practices and pay equity studies to independent reviews over the next three years.

"The lawsuit challenged Google’s pay and leveling processes, and Plaintiffs believe these programs will help ensure that women are not paid less than their male counterparts who perform substantially similar work, and that Google’s challenged leveling practices are equitable," the law firms said in the press release.

The lawsuit was filed in 2017 (opens in new tab) by three women who accused Google of underpaying female employees in violation of California's Equal Pay Act. The plaintiffs requested class-action status on behalf of all affected female workers in California, which was granted last year.

During the same year, Google was also ordered by the U.S. Department of Labor to turn over salary records (opens in new tab) for its 2014 pay scale for government review.

The lawsuit covers 15,500 female employees working in California since September 2013. The plaintiffs worked for Google in various capacities for 2.5 to 10.5 years.

"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,” said Holly Pease, one of the plaintiffs who left her role as a senior manager at Google. "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."

Android Central has contacted Google for comment and will update this post when we hear back.

The class-action suit is only the latest in a spate of lawsuits targeting the Mountain View-based giant's pay equity practices. According to a report published last year by The Guardian, Google underpaid thousands of employees for years and tried to conceal the issue.

Last December, California's Department of Fair Employment and Housing launched an investigation into Google after receiving multiple complaints about mistreatment of Black female workers.

Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein LLP and Altshuler Berzon LLP represented the complainants. A judge is set to grant a final settlement approval on June 21.

Jay Bonggolto always keeps a nose for news. He has been writing about consumer tech and apps for as long as he can remember, and he has used a variety of Android phones since falling in love with Jelly Bean. Send him a direct message via Twitter or LinkedIn.