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Google accused of discrimination against women in pay and promotions and white men in hiring, promotions and terminations


The lawsuit alleging discrimination against women was dismissed for being overly broad

Google is known for being a great place to work with great benefits, but lately some of its employees are pursuing their grievances in court. The following is a summary of two recent cases alleging discrimination.

  1. On September 14, 2017, a lawsuit was filed under the California Equal Pay Act alleging that Google discriminates against women by systematically paying them lower compensation than their male peers for performing substantially similar work under similar working conditions.
    On December 4, 2017 the California Superior Court issued an order dismissing the plaintiff’s complaint and striking their class allegations. The court held that the plaintiffs had failed to plead a common policy or practice that would tie together claims of wage discrimination on behalf of “all women employed by Google in California.” Only time will tell if the plaintiffs will try to save their complaint by narrowing the scope of the class and/or breaking it up in various subclasses that take into account different job titles and categories. They can also attempt to keep the same class but provide additional allegations to strengthen and tie the entire class together.

  2. On January 8, 2018, a former White conservative engineer, James Damore, filed a discrimination class action suit on behalf of all employees of Google discriminated against “due to their perceived conservative political views,” “their male gender,” and/or “their Caucasian race.”

The complaint alleges that employees were singled out, mistreated, and systematically punished and terminated if they deviated from the “majority view” on such issues as “diversity hiring policies, bias sensitivity or social injustice.” In addition, the complaint alleges that the “open hostility” to conservative thought leads to discrimination in hiring, promotion, and termination decisions on the basis of race and gender because of the “extreme” lengths that Google allegedly goes to into taking race and/or gender into account as determinative hiring factors, to the detriment of white males.

Google’s diversity initiatives, including its “Diversity and Inclusion Summit” and “diversity training class” were singled out as evidence of bias against conservative white men. The complaint states “Google’s current method of increasing diversity resulted in what is known as reverse discrimination, because Caucasian and Asian males were not being selected for jobs and promotions due solely to their status as non-females and non-favored minorities.”

Due to the recent filing of the second lawsuit, we do not yet know its viability; however, it does raise questions about diversity and inclusion (D&I) programs. It’s hard to tell whether the courts will agree that D&I programs act as conduits for discrimination against groups who are not included by the programs.

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