In the culmination of a recent class action lawsuit over Google’s gender discrimination pay gap, plaintiffs have finally reached an agreement with the company. Google will pay the affected employees $118 million, and supervised changes are to be made within the company.
Back in 2017, Google’s vice president of people operations Eileen Naughton responded to accusations (opens in new tab) that female employees were paid ‘systematically’ less than men (opens in new tab) in similar roles. The US Department of Labor (DoL) then asked Google to hand over salary records (opens in new tab) for a government audit, and the case snowballed from there.
It’s taken until 2022 to get to the bottom of it, and finally a settlement has been made. It’s important to note, though, while $118 million might sound like a lot, that amount will need to cover around 15,500 employees across 236 job titles. If you do the math, the total equates to a meagre $7,613 payout to each individual.
Considering analyst David Neumark’s approximation that Google has been paying women $16,794 less per year than “the similarly-situated man,” according to a May 2021 Business Standard article (opens in new tab), that doesn’t seem like a very large dent in the damages.
However, along with the agreed remuneration, Google is now required to have analysts and economists involved in their processes, in a bid to get the company policies in line with ethical standards.
The changes will includes having an independent, third-party analyst help the company figure out fairer leveling-at-hire practices. And all this will be supervised by an external Settlement Monitor over the three years to come.
As Business Wire (opens in new tab) (via Sweclockers (opens in new tab)) notes, Plantiff Holly Please—a ten year veteran of the company—is convinced the settlement is a positive one, at least. “As a woman who’s spent her entire career in the tech industry, I’m optimistic that the actions Google has agreed to take as part of this settlement will ensure more equity for women.”
Please also says that “Google, since its founding, has led the tech industry. They also have an opportunity to lead the charge to ensure inclusion and equity for women in tech.”