Google is facing a class-action lawsuit over claims it paid female employees nearly $17,000 less per year than male staff for the same work

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Google is facing a class-action lawsuit over claims it paid female employees nearly $17,000 less per year than male staff for the same work
Google CEO Sundar Pichai speaks during a developers conference.REUTERS/Stephen Lam
  • Former female Google staff won class-action status for a gender equity lawsuit against the company.
  • The four women alleged that Google paid female staff nearly $17,000 less per year than the men.
  • The claimants represent 10,800 women who claim Google pays women less than men for the same job.

Google on Thursday suffered a setback as a San Francisco state judge awarded class-action status to a lawsuit over unequal pay between men and women for the same work, Bloomberg first reported.

The lawsuit was first filed by four former female workers at Google in 2017. In it, the women allege that Google violated California's Equal Pay Act "by paying female employees lower compensation than Google pays to male employees performing substantially similar work."

A previously disclosed analysis seen by Bloomberg showed that the case seeks more than $600 million in damages.

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The women represent around 10,800 women employed by Google who claim that the company pays men more for doing the same job, according to a July court filing. The court filing said that the search engine company paid female employees around $16,794 less per year than "the similarly-situated man."

"Google paid women less base salary, smaller bonuses, and less stock than men in the same job code and location," the July filing said.

"We strongly believe in the equity of our policies and practices," a Google spokesperson told Insider. "For the past eight years, we have run a rigorous pay equity analysis to make sure salaries, bonuses and equity awards are fair. 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. In 2020 alone, we made upward adjustments for 2,352 employees, across nearly every demographic category, totalling $4.4M. We also undertake rigorous analyses to ensure fairness in role leveling and performance ratings."

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Kelly Dermody, a lawyer representing the women, said in an email to Bloomberg that the next step is getting the case to trial which could happen in 2022.

"This is a significant day for women at Google and in the technology sector, and we are so proud of our brave clients for leading the way," Dermody said. "This order shows that it is critical that companies prioritize paying women equitably over spending money fighting them in litigation."

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