A former Google employee claims the tech giant has been paying women who work in the company’s child day care center far less than their male counterparts — even though they have more experience.
Heidi Lamar, 31, filed a complaint this week in San Francisco alleging that she and countless others had been granted lower starting salaries than at least two men in the same position, the Guardian reports.
Google employed roughly 147 women and three men as preschool teachers from 2013 to 2017, according to Lamar.
During that time, she says nearly all of the female teachers were paid less than at least two of the males.
“I didn’t want to work for a company that I can’t trust, that makes me feel like my values of gender equality are being compromised,” Lamar told the Guardian, explaining why she quit in 2017 and eventually filed the complaint.
“I was definitely very excited to work at Google,” she said. “I found the environment and the educators and everyone I met there to be really inspiring.”
Lamar said she quickly learned, though, that sometimes things aren’t really as good as they seem, especially at Google.
In March 2017, she found out from a male colleague that she had been making 13 percent less than him — despite her having two more years of experience in similar jobs and a master’s in teaching.
“The biggest difference was that he’s a man,” Lamar explained.
Her male co-worker had been offered $21 per hour to work as a Level 2 teacher, according to the complaint. She was given $18.51 as a Level 1.
“My first reaction was to immediately feel angry and insulted,” Lamar said, noting how she brought her concerns first to a supervisor and then human resources.
“We deserve to make livable wages.”
Lamar’s higher-ups told her that there was no bias in their hiring practices and claimed that some people get paid more due to their performance in their job interview. So she decided to resign.
“It was very, very sad to leave,” Lamar said.
The former teacher is now one of several women who have teamed up as part of a class-action lawsuit against Google — accusing the company of gender-based pay discrimination.
The suit was filed back in September following an investigation by the US Department of Labor, which later sued Google for pay records, alleging “extreme” pay discrimination.
In response to Lamar’s claims and the Guardian’s story, company spokeswoman Gina Scigliano released a statement, saying: “We work really hard to create a great workplace for everyone, and to give everyone the chance to thrive here. 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 bias in these decisions.”
Google did not, however, respond to the Guardian’s request for data on its hiring practices of teachers.
“It feels really scary to speak up,” Lamar said. “But I do it for the women I work with and the women who are still at Google.”
This story originally appeared in the New York Post.