Google pay discrimination lawsuit is moving forward

A class-action lawsuit alleging pay discrimination at Google based on gender is moving forward, California Superior Court Judge Mary E. Wiss recently ordered.

The original suit was dismissed in December due to the fact that plaintiffs defined the class of affected workers too broadly. In January, the plaintiffs filed a revised lawsuit, which added Heidi Lamar, a former teacher at Google’s Children Center in Palo Alto. The revised January lawsuit focuses on those who hold engineer, manager, sales or early childhood education positions, which comes out to 30 covered positions. The suit also alleges Google has a history of improperly asking about prior salaries and assigning women to lower job levels with lower salaries.

In court, Google objected to the class-action designation pertaining to “Engineer Covered Positions” and “Program Manager Covered Positions,” saying the plaintiffs did not allege specific violations. But Judge Wiss has since said the court was not persuaded by Google’s argument.

“It is enough for Plaintiff’s to allege a numerous and ascertainable class with a well-defined community of interest, as well as a pattern or practice of gender discrimination across all Covered Positions in Google,” Wiss wrote in her order.

When reached for comment, Google reiterated an earlier statement it provided to journalists.

“We work really hard to create a great workplace for everyone, and to give everyone the chance to thrive here,” Google spokesperson Gina Scigliano said. “In relation to this particular lawsuit, we’ll review it in detail, but we disagree with the central 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. And we have extensive systems in place to ensure that we pay fairly. But on all these topics, if we ever see individual discrepancies or problems, we work to fix them, because Google has always sought to be a great employer, for every one of our employees.”