It has been a rough start to 2018 for Google. Just eight days into the new year, the giant tech company has been faced with two major lawsuits alleging widespread discrimination.
Lawsuit Involving Discrimination Against Women
On January 3rd, the class-action lawsuit which accused Google of willfully paying women less than men was revised and refiled in California.
Originally filed in September 2017, the lawsuit was initiated by four former Google employees – Kelly Ellis, Holly Pease, Kelli Wisuri, and Heidi Lamar – on behalf of themselves and their “similarly situated” peers at Google. According to The Register, last month, the judge involved in the case ordered the plaintiffs to “rewrite the complaint as the original covered ‘all women employed at Google,’ and was deemed too broad.”
The revised lawsuit narrows its allegations of discrimination to six categories of employment at Google: Software Engineer Covered Positions, Software Manager Covered Positions, Engineer Covered Positions, Program Manager Covered Positions, Sales Covered Positions, and Early Childhood Education Covered Positions.
The central claim of the lawsuit is that Google has violated and continues to violate the California Equal Pay Act by paying women in these positions less than men for “substantially equal work … or for substantially similar work.”
Additionally, the lawsuit also alleges that Google has violated and continues to violate the Unfair and Unlawful Business Practices Act through, among other actions, “assigning women to lower ‘levels’ (i.e. salary bands) than it assigns men … assigning women to jobs that do not compensate as highly as those populated largely by men [and] promoting women more slowly and at lower rates than it promotes men …”
Some of the most damning statements against Google can be found in the early pages of this lawsuit:
While Google’s policy is that levels should correspond to duties and responsibilities as well as salary, that is not the case; in reality, women in Covered Positions often perform substantially equal or substantially similar work as men in the level above them.
At all relevant times, Google has known or should have known of this pay disparity between its female employees in Covered Positions and male employees performing substantially equal or substantially similar work, yet Google has taken no action to equalize its male and female employees’ pay for substantially equal or substantially similar work. Google’s failure to pay female employees the same compensation paid to male employees for substantially equal or substantially similar work has been and is willful.
The OFCCP’s [Office of Federal Contract Compliance Program] analysis of Google’s compensation data for all 21,000 employees at its Mountain View Headquarters for the year 2015, “found systemic compensation disparities against women pretty much across the entire workforce.” OFCCP’s analysis showed six to seven standard deviations between pay for men and women in nearly every job classification in 2015. Two standard deviations is considered statistically significant; six or seven standard deviations means there is a one in 100 million chance that the disparity occurred randomly or by chance. (emphasis added)
Lawsuit Involving Discrimination Against Men
On January 8th, James Damore and David Gudeman also filed what is intended to be a class action lawsuit against Google, but the classes involved in this complaint are quite different than the ones listed above.
Damore and Gudeman are claiming in their lawsuit that Google discriminates on the basis of “Political Class Period,” “Gender Class Period,” and “Race Class Period.” Specifically, these men are bringing this “class action on behalf of themselves and on behalf of a class and subclasses defined as all employees of Google discriminated against” due to their “perceived conservative political views … their male gender … [and] their Caucasian race.”
Damore’s name may sound familiar.
Last summer, the Google employee wrote a memo regarding the differences between male and female engineers. The memo’s thesis was that “differences in distributions of traits between men and women may in part explain why we don’t have 50% representation of women in tech and leadership.” In full, his memo was deemed extremely controversial, and Damore was fired shortly after authoring it.
Again, some of the most critical claims are levied against Google in the beginning pages of this lawsuit:
Damore, Gudeman, and other class members were ostracized, belittled, and punished for their heterodox political views, and for the added sin of their birth circumstances of being Caucasians and/or males. This is the essence of discrimination—Google formed opinions about and then treated Plaintiffs not based on their individual merits, but rather on their membership in groups with assumed characteristics.
Google employees and managers strongly preferred to hear the same orthodox opinions regurgitated repeatedly, producing an ideological echo chamber, a protected, distorted bubble of groupthink.
Google created an environment of protecting employees who harassed individuals who spoke out against Google’s view or the “Googley way,” as it is sometimes known internally. Google employees knew they could harass Plaintiffs with impunity, given the tone set by managers—and they did so.
Google employs illegal hiring quotas to fill its desired percentages of women and favored minority candidates, and openly shames managers of business units who fail to meet their quotas—in the process, openly denigrating male and Caucasian employees as less favored than others.
Not only was the numerical presence of women celebrated at Google solely due to their gender, but the presence of Caucasians and males was mocked with “boos” during company- wide weekly meetings. (emphasis added)
First Lawsuit – Click Here
Second Lawsuit – Click Here (be sure to check out the exhibits at the end of this lawsuit)
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