Women Hit Google With Gender Bias Suit

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All rights reserved. This material may not be published broadcast rewritten or redistributed

The lawsuit comes on the heels of other allegations the company does not treat male and female employees equally, as the U.S. Department of Labor is investigating the company for gender discrimination in its hiring practices. In 2015, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs surveyed all 21,000 employees of Google's Mountain View office and found women were paid less in almost every job classification, according to documents filed in the suit.

-Kelly EllisKelly Ellis, one of the plaintiffs in the case, says she quit her job at Google in 2014 after being denied a promotion despite outstanding performance reviews and qualifications.

"In relation to this particular lawsuit, we'll review it in detail, but we disagree with the central allegations", Gina Scigliano, senior manager of corporate communications at Google, said in a statement. The suit accuses Google of violating California laws "requiring equal pay for similar work and prohibiting unfair and unlawful business practices".

Scigliano said that if discrepancies or problems are noticed during a review process, Google's team strives to fix them to ensure that everyone is treated fairly. The complaint claims that Ellis was paid less than men "for substantially equal or similar work" during her tenure at Google. Despite four years of experience, she was hired as a Level 3 engineer - a level reserved for recent college graduates. Despite their having similar experience and having started around the same time, the complaint alleges, the male employee was placed on a Level 4 software engineering ladder, earning him more pay and opportunities. In April, Google published a blog post insisting that Google was committed to pay equity, but did not find any gender pay gap after copious research.

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According to the search giant, its pay calculations are "blind to gender", and it conducts checks that remittance is without any statistically significant differences between both genders' pay.

Kelli Wisuri, the third plaintiff, had 2 ½ years sales experience when she joined Google in 2012, but was placed at the lowest level available on the "Sales Enablement" ladder, instead of the better-paid "Sales" ladder.

The suit aims to represent thousands of Google employees in California, and seeks lost wages and a slice of Google's profits.

Google VP of Engineering Ari Balogh, who the employee reported to, said that while feeling free to express viewpoints is important, it should not come at the expense of pushing "harmful assumptions".

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Like other companies in Silicon Valley, the company has faced questions about how it treats women before. She left the company in 2015 due to the lack of advancement opportunities for women, the complaint says.

About 70% of Google's workforce are men, according to the company.

Scott says there has been a remarkable shift in the tech industry's response to women over the past few months, beginning with Susan Fowler's allegations of gender discrimination at Uber, which contributed to the resignation of former CEO Travis Kalanick.

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