Google has agreed to pay $118 million to settle a lawsuit accusing them of “systematically paying” female employees less than men for doing similar work.
Per the terms of the settlement, a third party will also analyze Google’s current pay practices.
The lawsuit was brought on by former employees in 2017. In addition to alleging pay disparities, the former employees also claimed that women were kept in positions with fewer opportunities to advance than their male counterparts with similar experience.
About 15,500 female employees in 236 different positions with the company are represented in the lawsuit.
“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 Plaintiff Holly Pease in a statement about the case. “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.”
The plaintiffs’ co-counsel Kelly Dermody said in a statement that, “Plaintiffs believe this settlement advances gender equity at Google and will be precedent-setting for the industry.”
“Google has long been a technology leader. We are delighted that in this Settlement Agreement and Order Google is also affirming its commitment to be a leader in ensuring pay equity and equal employment opportunity for all of their employees,” added Plaintiffs’ co-counsel Jim Finberg.
For their part, Google said that they are “very pleased to reach this agreement” and that they now make “upward adjustments” if a disparity is discovered.
“While we strongly believe in the equity of our policies and practices, after nearly five years of litigation, both sides agreed that resolution of the matter, without any admission or findings, was in the best interest of everyone, and we’re very pleased to reach this agreement,” Google said in the statement obtained by The Verge. The company added that it’s “absolutely committed to paying, hiring and leveling all employees fairly and equally,” and that it makes “upward adjustments” if they find a disparity.
A San Francisco Superior Court judge will have to approve the settlement to finalize it. A hearing on the matter is scheduled for June 21.
The Verge report noted that, “Google’s treatment of workers has been the target of scrutiny more than once. Last year, Google agreed to pay $2.5 million to settle a lawsuit that claimed the company underpaid female engineers and overlooked Asian job applicants. California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) is also investigating the company over complaints of potential harassment and discrimination against Black female employees.”