A settlement of USD 118 million was reached Friday in a gender discrimination class action against Google. The class includes some 15,500 female employees who claim that they were undercompensated and denied advancement on the basis of gender.
The case, Ellis v. Google LLC, was initiated in 2017 and accounts for Google’s conduct since September 14, 2013 across 236 “covered positions,” or job titles. In addition to monetary damages, the settlement provides for a review of Google’s hiring practices by a third-party expert, as well as a review of their pay-equity standards by a third-party labor economist. These reviews will be supervised by an independent settlement monitor for the next three years.
Holly Pease, one of the suit’s named plaintiffs, stated that “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,” going on to say that Google now has “an opportunity to lead the charge to ensure inclusion and equity for women in tech.” Plaintiffs’ co-counsel Jim Finberg stated that “[w]e 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.”
In March a California judge approved video game company Activision Blizzard’s USD 18 million settlement with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, settling a federal lawsuit on sexual harassment and gender-based discrimination against the entertainment giant. California’s Department of Fair Employment Housing late last year announced a USD 100 million settlement to resolve allegations of systemic gender discrimination and harassment by Riot Games, a popular game developer and publisher in the US market. Also last year, Pinterest settled a shareholder case alleging that top executives had enabled racial and gender discrimination within the company. Google settled a similar case for USD 3.8 million against the US Department of Labor, who had accused the tech giant of “systemic compensation and hiring discrimination.”
The case will now proceed to a hearing for preliminary settlement approval, which, if approved, will then proceed to final approval by the court.