Almost 11,000 women are accusing Google of underpaying its female employees and overall gender bias via a class-action lawsuit, Bloomberg reports. The class action certified on May 27 is led by four plaintiffs representing 10,800 women Google has employed since 2013.
The tech giant is accused of paying its female employees $16,794 less per year compared to men in similar positions, based on the findings from an analysis by David Neumark, an economist at the University of California, Irvine.
Supported by this data, the plaintiffs are accusing Google of violating California’s Equal Pay Act, stating that “Google paid women less base salary, smaller bonuses, and less stock than men in the same job code and location,” with an additional accusation that women are also promoted less frequently.
Additionally, Alphabet’s largest subsidiary is also being accused of violating California’s Unfair Competition Law in the period between 2011 and 2017 by asking job candidates about their previous salaries, which, according to the plaintiffs, further perpetuated the pay difference.
Google denied the accusations, stating, “If we find any differences in proposed pay, including between men and women, we make upward adjustments to remove them before new compensation goes into effect.”
Nevertheless, the company’s efforts weren’t enough to prevent the lawsuit from getting a class-action status. The trial is expected to start in 2022.
Kelly Dermody, the plaintiffs’ attorney, gave an e-mail statement, saying “This order shows that it is critical that companies prioritize paying women equitably over spending money fighting them in litigation.”
Is Google in Serious Trouble?
It seems like the public is regularly exposed to news regarding lawsuits against Google, the most recent being one from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission accusing Google of consistently breaking consumer laws and violating its users’ privacy.
The sheer number of privacy-related lawsuits raises red flags about how the company handles its users’ data, leaving people concerned about their data being sold or misused. According to recent stats, 1 in 15 people is a victim of identity theft. Distrust of the way large companies are handling personal data causes many to resort to special services to protect themselves.
However, this is not Google’s first gender disparity lawsuit, either—the company paid a $2.6 million settlement this February over allegations of underpaying its female software engineers, as well as discriminating against Asian job applicants and women in general.
Google’s lawsuits are just an example of a much more widespread issue. Many large companies and corporations have faced lawsuits that accused them of gender bias and discrimination against women, including Disney, Goldman Sachs, Hearst, and Oracle, to name a few.