Google faces class-action lawsuit in gender disparity controversy

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Days after an anti-diversity ‘manifesto’ went viral inside Google and infuriated thousands of its employees, over 60 current and former Google employees are now considering suing the company for sexism and pay disparities against women.

According to a report in The Guardian on Tuesday, civil rights attorney James Finberg is working on bringing a class-action lawsuit on behalf of the female employees who believe they have earned less than men at Google despite equal qualifications and comparable positions.

Others have alleged that the culture at Google is hostile to women and hampers their chances to advance their careers at the company.

“Sixty 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,” the report quoted a Google spokesperson as saying.

A leak from Google over an anti-diversity manifesto, written by a Google engineer, last week suggested that the company should halt initiatives aimed at increasing gender and racial diversity within the company and instead focus on “ideological diversity”.

It prompted Google CEO Sunder Pichai to fire the engineer who wrote the 10-page memo, which claimed that “the representation gap between men and women in software engineering persists because of biological differences between the two sexes”.

“A class-action gender discrimination suit would build on a case brought by the US Department of Labour (DoL), which is arguing that Google systematically underpays women and recently convinced a judge to force the company to hand over a portion of the company’s salary records,” the report noted.

Last month, Google emerged victorious in its fight with the US Department of Labor over supplying pay gap data. The department alleged that the tech giant tried to restrict media coverage of the gender discrimination case.

According to Finberg, the testimony of the women who are considering to file a lawsuit indicated there are clear disparities and prejudices that hurt women at the Mountain View company.

“They are concerned that women are channelled to levels and positions that pay less than men with similar education and experience,” Finberg was quoted as saying.

During his interaction with several former and current women employees from Google, Finberg said they make around $40,000 less than male colleagues doing the same work.

The report quoted a female Google employee as saying that she regularly dealt with sexist remarks such as comments about her looks.

She accused the company of discrimination for denying her a promotion despite her achievements and large workload.

According to Finberg, the class-action case will have a strong impact on other tech giants in Silicon Valley.

“Google is not alone in Silicon Valley. The goal of the case is to not only get Google to change its practices, but to encourage other Silicon Valley companies to change their pay practices as well,” Finberg stated.

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