Google may face lawsuit for alleged gender discrimination

Updated 2017-08-12 06:30:36 Xinhua

Dozens of current and former Google employees are considering bringing a class-action lawsuit against the tech giant over alleged gender discrimination and pay disparities against women, according to media reports.

Civil rights attorney James Finberg, representing the female employees, told the Guardian that he has interviewed about half of the 60 women who may be part of the lawsuit and, based on their testimony, found clear disparities and prejudices that hurt women at the company.

"They are concerned that women are channeled to levels and positions that pay less than men with similar education and experience," Finberg was quoted as saying by the Guardian in a Tuesday report.

Other women revealed their struggle to get promotions at Google due to a "culture that is hostile to women," Finberg added.

"Sixty people is a really small sample size," a Google spokesperson told the Guardian in reference to the women considering legal action. "There are always going to be differences in salary based on location, role and performance, but the process is blind to gender."

The latest development follows Google's firing of a male software engineer on Monday after he wrote a memo challenging the company's diversity policies.

James Damore argued in his 10-page memo that biological gender differences helped explain why women are underrepresented in tech companies. The memo, initially circulated internally, was leaked to the public over the weekend.

In response, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said portions of the memo "violate our Code of Conduct and cross the line by advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace."

In April, the U.S. Department of Labor accused Google of systemic issues with equal pay.

"The government's analysis at this point indicates that discrimination against women in Google is quite extreme, even in this industry," a lawyer of the department said.

Google is not the only company with a sexism problem. The issue is rampant in Silicon Valley.

In January, it was Oracle in the hot seat when the Labor Department filed a lawsuit against it alleging the leading tech company has "a systemic practice of paying Caucasian male workers more than their counterparts in the same job title, which led to pay discrimination against female, African American and Asian employees."

In February, ride-hailing service Uber was accused by former engineer Susan Fowler in a personal blog for fostering a toxic culture of sexism and harassment, a key event leading to the resignation of its CEO Travis Kalanick.

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