More than 8,000 current and former employees of Google can be affected by a -action lawsuit being filed against the company in California by a group of women who had earlier search engine giant on charges of pay discrimination according to a lawyer of the plaintiffs.
According to a statement by Jim Finberg, a civil rights attorney appearing for the women behind the gender pay gap case to The Guardian, Google has acknowledged that roughly 8,300 women who have worked for Google in California would be impacted by the proposed class action.
The case was heard on Friday at a San Francisco hearing. A day earlier, a report published in the New York Times claimed after a n investigation that a $90m severance package was paid by Google to an executive who was accused of a sexual misconduct and the company had concealed the information.
Google has been under pressure lately over growing criticisms of public allegations against it, which first surfaced last year, of gender and racial discrimination and sexual harassment and this new class-action complaint would add on to that pressure.
Those women who had been impacted by the gender pay discrimination case were engaged in a number of positions in the company since September of 2013 and worked in positions such as product management, product sales, technical operations, software engineering, research and technical writing.
“If the class is certified in this case and we prevail, it will change the way that Google does business, and because Google is a market leader, hopefully it will improve gender equality in Silicon Valley and the tech industry,” Finberg said in an interview.
Following an investigation last year into the pay discrimination at the company by the Department of Labor (DoL), the government body had claimed finding “systemic compensation disparities against women pretty much across the entire workforce”. The investigation was initiated after a Google, which is also a contractor with the US Federal government, did not hand over certain documents to the DoL despite it being subject to equal opportunity laws.
There have however been repeated claims by Google that it runs a system that allows for ensuring that there is equal pay for women working with it and that no gender pay gap existed in the company.
Documents, data and deposition testimony from Google are soon to be obtained by the plaintiffs, Finberg said.
“We have heard from the women with whom we have spoken that there was a culture at Google that objectified women and was filled with stereotyped views about women’s capability,” Finberg said.
There have also been men who have alleged that Google was not tolerant of white male conservative which has put the company in a political flash point. However, most of the employees of the company are white, Asian and male. Leadership position in the company has only about 25 per cent women, 2 per cent black and 1.8 per cent Latino.
There was no response from Google to the latest case.
(Adapted from TheGuardian.com)