Google scores a win in gender discrimination lawsuit

A California state judge sided with Google, for now, by dismissing class action claims that accused the company of paying female employees less than men and giving them fewer opportunities for promotion.

Reuters reports that Superior Court Judge Mary Wiss in San Francisco said on Monday the lawsuit was inappropriate because it was brought on behalf of all women who worked for Google in California. The plaintiffs have 30 days to file a new complaint on behalf of only those women who faced pay discrimination.

Wiss also said the plaintiffs’ claims in the case known as Ellis v. Google were vague, that they must show how specific groups of women were affected by the tech firm’s pay policies and that two of the three named plaintiffs had not shown they performed comparable work to men who were allegedly paid more.

The decision comes as Google faces an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor into sex bias in its pay practices and as other women have come forward to say they faced gender and racial discrimination at the company.


According to Google’s most recent data, its workforce is 69 percent male and 56 percent white.

Google spokesman Gina Scigliano said the company works “to create a great workplace for everyone,” reports Reuters.

Google's logo is seen on a building in Irvine, California.

Google's logo is seen on a building in Irvine, California. (Reuters)

“If we ever see individual discrepancies or problems, we work to fix them,” Scigliano said Wednesday.

James Finberg, a lawyer for the three women who sued Google in September, told Reuters he intended to file a new complaint by early January that “makes clear that Google violates the California Equal Pay Act ... by paying women less than men for substantially equal work in nearly every job classification.”

The lawsuit appeared to be the first to make sex bias claims against Google on behalf of a class of women, but was only the latest instance of a major tech company being accused of discriminating against women.


The Department of Labor sued Oracle in January, claiming it paid white men more than women and people of color with similar jobs. Microsoft and Twitter are facing lawsuits over gender bias and Qualcomm last year settled claims for $19.5 million.

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit against Google are a former software engineer, a former communications specialist and a former manager who worked in various roles at the Mountain View, California-based company.

They said in the lawsuit that Google pays women in California less than men who perform similar work, and assigns female workers jobs that are less likely to lead to promotions, in violation of state laws.

Google said its employment decisions are made by hiring and promotion committees and are vetted to ensure there is no bias.