‘It’s demoralizing’: 60 women preparing to sue Google over $40,000 salary gap with male colleagues
In the wake of the firing of a male employee at Google sending out a sexist memo proclaiming women are biologically less than men, 60 female staffers at Google are suing for alleged sexism over the pay gap.
San Francisco civil rights attorney James Finberg revealed to The Guardian that there is a potential class action lawsuit coming by women who say that they were paid as much as $40,000 less than their male counterparts. An April report by the Department of Labor found that women at the company were paid less than men. They were then able to acquire additional employment records for a deeper investigation thanks to a judge.
Google has denied it has had done any such thing, maintaining that their salaries are fair. However, so far, Finberg has interviewed at least half of the 60 women who expressed that they wanted to be a part of the lawsuit. Approximately half of the women are still working for Google, while the other half are women who left the company over the pay discrepancy.
“They are concerned that women are channeled to levels and positions that pay less than men with similar education and experience,” Finberg told The Guardian. He claimed that the women have similar positions and qualifications but women make less than the men in salary, bonuses and stock options.
One woman who worked as a senior manager left the company after she learned multiple men at the same level as her were earning tens of thousands of dollars more. The end finally came, she told The Guardian, when a new staffer staffer joined her team. Despite being his superior, he had a higher salary.
“It’s demoralizing,” she said, requesting anonymity out of fear for retribution. “There’s something subconsciously that happens where you do start to question the value that you’re adding to the company.”
While there is an initial disparity in salary and stock options, Finberg explained that over time the “disparity turns into a larger and larger disparity every year” through bonuses and raises.
“I felt like I wasn’t playing the game in the ‘boys club’ environment,” another woman said after working for two years as a user experience designer. She said she frequently experienced sexist remarks about her looks and denied promotions despite achievements. She ultimately left the company as well.
“I was watching male coworkers progress at a faster rate than myself. It was really disturbing,” said the designer, who also requested anonymity.
Google fired the author of the 10-page memo claiming that they believe the 60-person sample is too small to reflect the company. Finberg argues that the Labor Department is still working to gather its findings to determine if the discrepancy appears by chance or is intentional. If there are differences, then the Labor Department does consider it more significant than Google.