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Google agrees to settle discrimination claims

Google has agreed to settle allegations brought by female software engineers who claimed that men received higher salaries for doing the same work and Asian and female job applicants who were denied positions with the company. The U.S. Department of Labor announced the terms of the settlement agreement on Feb. 1. During a routine compliance evaluation of the California-based online search giant, the DOL says it found widespread gender discrimination and unfair hiring practices.

Pay-equity adjustments

Google will pay almost $2.6 million to 2,565 of its female workers and 2,976 Asian and female job applicants to settle the matter. The company will also review and revise its hiring and compensation policies and set aside more than $1 million to adjust the salaries of female software engineers based in Washington, New York and California. When the DOL reviewed Google’s screening and hiring records, it discovered that only 17 Asian applicants and 51 women had been offered software engineer positions.

Gender inequality in Silicon Valley

Claims of gender discrimination and unfair treatment are not uncommon in the technology sector. The Google settlement came just six weeks after Pinterest agreed to pay its former chief operating officer more than $22 million to settle a gender discrimination lawsuit. The 55-year-old woman claimed in her legal action that the photo-sharing company fired her when she complained about lewd comments and urged the company to pay its female employees as much as it paid its male workers.

Discrimination lawsuits

Experienced employment law attorneys may encourage companies with reputations to protect to settle discrimination claims quickly and quietly. When these efforts are unsuccessful, attorneys could initiate litigation and advocate on behalf of their clients in court. If the discrimination appears to be ongoing, systemic and malicious, attorneys could also seek punitive damages.

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