Google has agreed to pay $118 million to settle a class-action gender discrimination lawsuit to about 15,500 female employees.
In a statement Friday, attorneys for the plaintiffs said Google — a unit of Alphabet Inc. GOOGL, -3.20% GOOG, -3.04% — will also provide an independent third-party labor economist to analyze the company’s pay equity and hiring practices, to ensure female employees are not paid less than their male counterparts doing the same work.
The lawsuit was filed in 2017 by three women who claimed Google placed them at lower job levels than similarly qualified male workers and denied them promotions or transfers to other teams, resulting in lower pay and hindering job advancement, in violation of California’s Equal Pay Act. The settlement covers about 15,500 former and current female employees employed by Google since September 2013.
“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.”
Google confirmed the settlement when contacted Sunday. While the tech giant did not admit wrongdoing, a spokesperson said: “We are absolutely committed to paying, hiring and leveling all employees fairly and equally and for the past nine years we have run a rigorous pay-equity analysis to make sure salaries, bonuses and equity awards are fair.”
A judge still needs to sign off on the agreement, with a hearing set for June 21.