Google will pay $118 million to women who say they were not paid equally to men

Google has agreed to settle a class-action lawsuit with its current and past female employees. The tech company says it’ll pay $118 million to more 15,000 women for paying them less than their male counterparts for similar work.  

One of the plaintiff’s and her attorney say they want this case to be another step in changing the environments of working women and paying women what they’ve earned.   

"We know that women and women minorities get paid substantially less than men across the board and I think companies need to be on notice that it’s not ok," said plaintiff Holly Pease, a former Google manager. 

Holly Pease is one of four women who filed a class-action lawsuit against Google for pay discrimination in 2017. She says they wanted Google to change its practices, evaluate women’s work performances fairly and pay women equally to men.   

"They were paying women differently. They were paying less for the same work from women, across thousands of women. It was statistically provable," Pease said.     

After agreeing to settle the case, Google released a statement denying any wrongdoing and said that settling the case was in the best interest of everyone involved. 

"In 2020 alone, we made upward adjustments for 2,352 employees, across nearly every demographic category, totaling $4.4M. We also undertake rigorous analyses to ensure fairness in role leveling and performance ratings," the statement said.

James Finberg is one of the attorneys representing the women and says because Google has a federal contract, it is legally obligated to never discriminate against its employees. He says initially, about 100 women contacted the law firm about pay discrimination and other issues at Google.  

"Because women had lower prior pay, this practice locked in discrimination. California made clear in 2017, that you can’t justify a salary disparity based on prior pay. Prior pay is not job-related so it’s not legitimate," Finberg said.   

The settlement still has to be approved by San Francisco Superior Court. The four plaintiffs will also receive service compensation based on their overall work history with Google.