Google faces revised gender-pay lawsuit

Google is facing a revised gender-pay class-action lawsuit that alleges Google underpaid women in comparison with their male counterparts and asked new hires about their prior salaries, The Guardian first reported. The revised lawsuit also adds a fourth complainant, Heidi Lamar, who was a teacher at Google’s Children Center in Palo Alto for four years.

The original suit was dismissed last month due to the fact the plaintiffs defined the class of affected workers too broadly. Now, the revised lawsuit focuses on those who hold engineer, manager, sales or early childhood education positions.

“We disagree with the central allegations of this amended lawsuit,” Google spokesperson Gina Scigliano said in a statement to TechCrunch. “We work really hard to create a great workplace for everyone, and to give everyone the chance to thrive here. 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 bias in these decisions.”

The revised lawsuit comes a couple of days after a new California law went into effect that prohibits employers from asking applicants about their prior salaries. If someone voluntarily discloses their prior pay, the law requires employers not to use the information to set current salaries. California Governor Jerry Brown signed the law banning salary history inquires last October.

For those keeping track of Google’s gender-pay discrimination woes, this lawsuit is separate from the Department of Labor’s probe into Google’s pay practices. Last January, the DoL filed a lawsuit against Google in an attempt to obtain compensation data from the tech giant as part of a routine compliance evaluation.

Because Google is a federal contractor, it is required to let the government review documents and other information that is relevant to the company’s compliance with equal employment laws. In April, the DoL testified in court that pay inequities at Google are “systemic.”

“We found systemic compensation disparities against women pretty much across the entire workforce,” Department of Labor Regional Director Janette Wipper said in court in April.

Google, however, denied the DoL’s claims that the pay inequities at the company were systemic. In June, an administrative law judge sided with Google, ruling that it did not need to hand over all of the data the DoL requested. Google has also put forward its own analysis that suggests there is no gender pay gap at the company.