News World

Former employees can sue Google over gender pay gap in class action suit that could cost tech giant $600M in damages

U.S. – A California judge ruled that several women who accused Google of violating gender equity laws by underpaying female employees can proceed on behalf of 10,800 alleged victims.

Plaintiffs took to social media welcoming the San Francisco Superior Court Judge’s ruling.

“This is HUGE,” Kelly Ellis, one of the women in Ellis et al v. Google Inc. tweeted.

A lawyer representing the plaintiffs told Bloomberg that the decision “shows that it is critical that companies prioritize paying women equitably over spending money fighting them in litigation.” 

Female workers at Google allege that the tech giant violated California’s Equal Pay Act by systematically giving preferential treatment to males working in similar positions. Google paid women less than males for doing similar jobs and promoted fewer women at a slower rate, compared to men with similar qualification, alleges the claim.

Google issued a statement Thursday after the ruling saying the company’s leadership “strongly believe in the equity of our policies and practices. 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.”

A previous analysis of the case by David Neumark, an economist at the University of California, analyzed the case and estimated if Google looses the class action suit they could lose more than $600 million in damages.

Earlier this year Google agreed to pay a $3.8 million settlement with the US Department of Labor after they accused Google in 2017 of systematic discrimination against females and Asians when hiring them and compensating them for their work.

That federal investigation concentrated on corporate practices between 2014 and 2017, which is about the same time frame covered by the Ellis v. Google lawsuit.

The trial for the class action lawsuit may start as soon as 2022.

READ MORE: Washington Attorney General files antitrust lawsuit against tech giant Google

READ MORE: Another U.S. state – the 48th – files lawsuit against Facebook