The settlement is still subject to court approval.
Google is expected to pay $118 million to settle a gender discrimination lawsuit that could impact up to 15,000 women in its employ.
According to The Verge, the settlement will oblige Google to hire an independent labor economist to evaluate the company’s hiring practices and commission pay equity studies.
The lawsuit was first filed in 2017, after three women accused Google of underpaying female workers in violation of California’s Equal Pay Act. The complaint suggested that Google maintained an illegal “wage gap” of approximately $17,000.
“Google has discriminated and continues to discriminate against its female employees by systematically paying them lower compensation than Google pays to male employees performing substantially similar work under similar working conditions,” the lawsuit claimed.
The three plaintiffs also said that Google routinely places women into lower-paying career tracks with few opportunities for significant promotions.
The lawsuit was awarded class action status last year.
“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,” plaintiff Holly Pease said in a statement. “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.”
Attorneys for the women made similar comments.
“Plaintiffs believe this settlement advancers gender equity at Google and will be precedent-setting for the industry,” co-counsel Kelly Dermody said.
Co-counsel Jim Finberg opined that the tentative agreement will help ensure more equitable pay and opportunity.
“Google has long been a technology leader. We are delighted that in this Settlement Agreement and Order Google is also affirming its commitment to be a leader in ensuring pay equity and equal employment opportunity for all of their employees,” Finberg said.
However, The Verge observes that the settlement is still subject to court approval, with a hearing scheduled to take place on June 21.
In its own statement, Google said that it remains committed to equitable hiring practices. A spokesperson for the company emphasized that Google did not admit fault or liability.
“While we strongly believe in the equity of our policies and practices, after nearly five years of litigation, both sides agreed that resolution of the matter, without any admission or findings, was in the best interest of everyone, and we’re very pleased to reach this agreement,” Google told The Verge, adding that the company is “absolutely committed to paying, hiring, and levelling all employees fairly and equally.”