Google Lands Victory in Gender Discrimination Lawsuit

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People take pictures of a Google office building in Mountain View, California.
People take pictures of a Google office building in Mountain View, California. Credit: Michael Short/Bloomberg

A San Francisco Superior Court judge has ruled in favor of Google, dismissing a lawsuit that accused the tech giant of systematically paying its male employees more then women.

The lawsuit was brought by three women who had previously worked at Google. In September, they sued the company in San Francisco Superior Court seeking class action status. Two of the women, Kelly Ellis and Holly Pease, worked as software engineers; combined, they had nearly 15 years of experience. The third, Kelli Wisuri, handled executive communications for a little less than two years.

The class-action lawsuit claimed there were "systematic compensation disparities against women pretty much across the board," as the suit said. Superior Court Judge Mary E. Wiss said in her analysis that the allegations were "conclusory, and insufficient to state class claims."

The plaintiffs failed to demonstrate that they were underpaid for performing similar or better work than their male counterparts, Wiss added.

The lawsuit had sought to represent all women who had worked at Google, in California, for the last four years.

Roughly 70 percent of Google's workforce and 80 percent of its technical staff are male, according to the company's most recent demographic report, which it releases each year since 2015. The company has taken steps to address the imbalance, offering networking groups and support for minorities and women. Still, based on its own data, the number of women in technical or leadership roles increased 1 percent since 2016.

Google did not immediately respond to request for comment. All three women have 30 days to file an amended appeal, according to the lawsuit.

The judge's ruling can be viewed here by searching for case No. "CGC-17-561299."

"As we said before, we work really hard to create a great workplace for everyone, and to give everyone the chance to thrive here," a Google corporate communications executive said after the ruling. "If we ever see individual discrepancies or problems, we work to fix them."

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