Home BUSINESS News Google Settles Gender Discrimination Lawsuit for $118 Million

Google Settles Gender Discrimination Lawsuit for $118 Million

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Google Settles Gender Discrimination Lawsuit for $118 Million

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Google agreed to pay $118 million to settle a lawsuit claiming the tech giant had discriminated against women in pay and promotions.

The settlement concludes a class-action suit in San Francisco Superior Court initiated in 2017 by three female former employees who said that Google, a unit of

Alphabet Inc.,


GOOG -3.04%

placed them in lower-job levels than similarly qualified males, leading to lower pay, and denied the women promotions or transitions to other teams that would have led to better career advancement.

The settlement covers about 15,500 female employees who worked at Google in California in 236 job titles after September 2013, according to plaintiffs’ lawyers in the case.

As part of the settlement, independent experts will review Google’s hiring practices and pay-equity studies, according to a statement Saturday from Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein LLP and Altshuler Berzon LLP, the law firms that represented the women.

Google didn’t admit wrongdoing as part of the settlement. The terms of the settlement still need to be approved by a judge.

“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 spokesman Chris Pappas said.

He said the company is committed to paying, hiring and leveling all employees fairly and equally. The company has run a pay-equity analysis to check if salaries, bonuses and equity awards are fair for the past nine years, he said.

“I’m optimistic that the actions Google has agreed to take as part of this settlement will ensure more equity for women,” Holly Pease, one of the named plaintiffs in the case, said in the statement from the law firms. “They also have an opportunity to lead the charge to ensure inclusion and equity for women in tech,” said Ms. Pease, who worked for more than 10 years at Google in a number of management roles.

The tech industry has contended for years with claims that companies are deficient in their hiring and treatment of women and minorities, and the companies have long said they are working to improve their diversity policies and practices.

The 2017 lawsuit against Google that was settled this month followed discrimination accusations earlier that year by the Labor Department as part of an audit of Google. The department’s allegations were resolved in a settlement last year in which Google agreed to pay over $3.8 million to more than 5,500 then-current female and Asian employees and job applicants whom the department found to have been disadvantaged. Google said at the time that it invests heavily to make its hiring and compensation processes fair.

Google also has been criticized by male former employees who have claimed that it discriminated against conservative white men, including

James Damore,

the former Google engineer whom Google fired after he circulated a memo suggesting men were better suited than women for certain tech jobs.

Write to Patrick Thomas at Patrick.Thomas@wsj.com

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