Three women have filed a class action lawsuit against Google, claiming that the tech giant has systems in place that ensure systematic pay discrimination against women. They also claim the company routinely thwarts advancement by women by promoting fewer of them and advancing them more slowly.
They allege Google violates the California Equal Pay Act, the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, the California Labor Code and other civil rights laws. They are seeking class certification along with back pay with interest, restitution and damages.
Each of the three women has a compelling story. We won't try to reproduce all of the allegations in a blog post, but you can read all the details in this piece by the Courthouse News Service.
One example, however, was a woman who was hired as a corporate network manager in 2005. She came to Google with 10 years' network engineering experience and, shortly after she was hired, she was made a data warehouse manager where she managed engineering teams who developed software applications, data analytics, data warehouses and other services.
Things seemed good at first, but she began to realize that she had been put on a non-technical job ladder, which meant she had a lower salary and fewer opportunities for upward mobility in the company.
She actually coached a male colleague on how to transition from the non-technical to a technical career ladder. Although the man performed poorly on technical tests, he was accepted into a technical area. The woman was not.
In 2016, she resigned from Google after 11 years, feeling it was clear the company would not allow her out of the non-technical trap she had been put in despite her generous technical experience.
These technical and non-technical job silos constitute one of the main complaints the women bring forward in the lawsuit. They claim that women are more likely to be placed on non-technical career ladders despite their qualifications, and that they find barriers to transitioning to technical ones, which are more lucrative and visible.
Moreover, they claim, women are paid less for doing the same work. "The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Program's analysis found six to seven standard deviations between pay for men and women in nearly every job classification in 2015," reads the lawsuit. "Two standard deviations is considered statistically significant; six or seven standard deviations means there is a one in a million chance that the disparity is occurring randomly or by chance."
If you suspect you are experiencing job discrimination in any form, it's a good idea to consult an employment law attorney before taking any steps. Your lawyer can help protect your rights as you determine how best to address the situation.