Google faces class action gender pay discrimination lawsuit

The proposed class action lawsuit aims to represent thousands of Google employees in California. The tech giant is already facing a sex bias investigation by the US Department of Labor.

USA Kalifornien Google (picture-alliance/AP Photo/M. J. Sanchez)

In a bout of fresh legal trouble for Google, three female former employees have filed a lawsuit on Thursday against the tech company, accusing it of discriminating against women in pay and promotions.

The plaintiffs claim that women at the California-based company get paid less than their male colleagues to perform similar work. They also allege that women are assigned jobs that are less likely to lead to promotions.

Google is already facing an investigation by the US Department of Labor into pay-based discrimination. The probe stems from an audit in 2015 that found women earned less than men in nearly every job position.

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Google is already facing a sex bias investigation by the US Department of Labor

'Time to end discrimination'

The three women worked in different roles at Google. They quit after they were put on a career path they said would pay them less than their male counterparts.

"I have come forward to correct a pervasive problem of gender bias at Google," Kelly Ellis, one of the plaintiffs, said in a statement.

Ellis said she quit the company in 2014 after it hired male engineers with similar experience for higher-paying job positions and denied her a promotion despite excellent performance reviews.

"It is time to stop ignoring these issues in tech," she added.

The lawsuit aims to represent thousands of Google employees in California. It seeks lost wages for all those affected and a slice of Google's profits.

"While Google has been an industry-leading tech innovator, its treatment of female employees has not entered the 21st century," Kelly Dermody, a lawyer for the women, said in a statement.

Read more: Google challenges EU antitrust fine

Google denies allegations

Google said it would review the suit in detail, adding that it disagreed with the main allegations.

"Job levels and promotions are determined through rigorous hiring and promotion committees, and must pass multiple levels of review, including checks to make sure there is no gender bias in these decisions," Google spokeswoman Gina Scigliano said.

The latest allegations come more than a month after a male engineer at the company authored an internal memo blasting the web company's diversity policies, claiming women were "biologically" less likely to succeed at the company.

ap/sms (Reuters, AP)

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