A new study recently revealed that female Google employees may be missing out on $17,000 per year compared to their male counterparts.
An ongoing lawsuit against Google claims female employees make an average of $2,000 less per year on paper, by may be missing out on more. According to David Neumark, a University of California Irvine distinguished professor of economics, female employees at Google “may be losing out on $17,000 a year because of discriminatory job classifications.” James Finberg, a lawyer representing the plaintiffs, agrees and said, “Google has a pattern and practice of channeling women with comparable education and experience into lower-salary levels.”
The lawsuit was filed back in 2017 and accused Google of gender pay discrimination, specifically against female employees. The affected women worked in a variety of positions, including coding and teachers to working in the in-house childcare department. In total, it’s estimated that about 10,800 female employees who worked at the company since September 2013 have been discriminated against.
The suit argues that a big reason for the pay discrepancies between men and women is that Google implements discriminatory practices, “including pushing female employees into lower-paying career tracks.” According to some of the women, Google “tied starting salary to prior pay, perpetuating wage inequality.” Even though the company discontinued this practice back in 2017, it has “failed to address the existing inequalities at the company.”
Additionally, the suit alleges the company’s job classification system is discriminatory because it “divides employees into different responsibility levels to determine tasks and compensation.” According to that system, “workers in the same ‘job family’ at Google are those that are doing similar job duties and responsibilities but stratified at different levels of capabilities or skill sets…Different levels within each job family come with different salary grades.” The suit argues women were routinely shoved into lower-level job tracks, resulting in them being paid less than their male counterparts with similar job descriptions.
One of the plaintiffs, Kelly Ellis, experienced this discrimination shortly after being hired. According to her, she believed she had “enough experience to be placed at a higher responsibility level and didn’t initially understand how the classification system worked at the company.” It didn’t take long for her to realize that “male colleagues with similar education had been assigned more responsibilities and higher pay from the beginning.” She said, “Throughout my time at Google, I always felt like I was behind where I should have been and trying to catch up…I didn’t really realize the full extent to which I was discriminated against until I stopped working there, and I realized even more being involved in this lawsuit just how blatant and what a pattern it all was.”
All in all, the suit argues Google paid women smaller bonuses, smaller base salaries, and offered less stock than men working in similar or even equal job codes and locations. According to Neumark, “the likelihood of such a disparity occurring by chance rather than by direct discrimination is 1 in 100.”