By Ethan Baron The Mercury News
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Google, under federal investigation over alleged "extreme" pay discrimination against women, has just been hit with a lawsuit claiming it systematically pays women less than men.
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.
The legal action by three female employees seeks class-action status to cover all women employed by the Mountain View search giant in the past 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," said the lawsuit, filed Thursday in California Superior Court in San Francisco.
The women's lawyer, James Finberg, said Thursday that his team will rely heavily on testimony from U.S. Department of Labor hearings, which showed "statistically significant (compensation) disparities adverse to women across the board."
The labor department has called pay discrimination against women at Google "extreme."
Google will review the suit in detail, but disagrees with the "central allegations," company spokeswoman Gina Scigliano said Thursday.
"We work really hard to create a great workplace for everyone, and to give everyone the chance to thrive here," Scigliano said. "Job levels and promotions are determined through rigorous hiring and promotion committees, and must pass multiple levels of review, including checks to make sure there is no gender bias in these decisions.
"And we have extensive systems in place to ensure that we pay fairly. But on all these topics, if we ever see individual discrepancies or problems, we work to fix them," she said.
Lawyer Finberg said other evidence to be brought forward against Google includes a New York Times report on employee compensation that was based on a former employee's data set. That report suggested that at most salary levels, women at Google receive lower pay and smaller bonuses than men. Google has said that its own analysis, which included location, tenure, job role, level and performance, showed women made 99.7 cents for every dollar a man made, a statistically negligible difference.
The suit filed Thursday claims that women are placed in job classifications that draw lower compensation than men doing similar work in higher-paid job classes.
"Google has channeled and segregated, and continues to channel and segregate, women on the basis of their sex into lower compensation levels and into less-compensated and less-favorable job ladders and levels than men with equal or lesser qualifications and/or men performing substantially similar work," the suit said.