On Tuesday, The Guardian revealed that over 60 women are contemplating suing Google, claiming that, as employees of the technology company, they experienced discrimination in the form of sexism, limited promotions, and gender pay gaps. Google has denied these allegations of discrimination.
The news about the possible suit comes on the heels of several other high- profile issues involving the company and its alleged treatment of female employees. Indeed, last week, an internally-circulated memo from a male software engineer, in which he blamed "biological differences" for the fact that women do not hold more leadership positions in the technology world, was made public. After extensive public outcry, Google fired the author of the document. Moreover, Google is also currently party to a lawsuit by the U.S. Department of Labor, which has accused the tech company of consistently underpaying its women employees.
Thus, today's announcement of a possible employee class action suit further adds to the company's apparent struggle to adequately address gender discrimination issues. After interviewing James Finberg, the civil rights attorney who is helping organize the lawsuit, The Guardian reported that the women considering suing believe they earned less than men while employed at the company, even if they possessed similar qualifications and/or held the same position. The women party to the potential suit include both former and current Google employees.
Indeed, Finberg reported to the paper that several of the women he spoke with believe they made $40,000 less per year than their male counterparts in the same position, while another woman said she believed she only received two-thirds of what her male colleague was making.
For its part, Google has denied that it perpetuates a pay disparity between men and women, saying back in April in reference to the Department of Labor lawsuit that, " ... Every year, we do a comprehensive and robust analysis of pay across genders and we have found no gender pay gap ... " Furthermore, while Google declined to comment to The Guardian about the potential class action lawsuit, a spokesperson did say (in reference to the number of women contemplating suing) that, “60 people is a really small sample size ... There are always going to be differences in salary based on location, role and performance, but the process is blind to gender.”
Google is probably watching very closely to see if and how the potential class action suit will unfold, particularly in the wake of the company's other recent alleged gender-related issues. Furthermore, as Finberg pointed out, as Google's apparent gender woes receive more and more attention, other technology companies will also likely take a closer look at their gender pay equality (or lack thereof) and their anti-discrimination practices — and remedy them if necessary.