The tech industry has always been a notorious ‘boys club’ environment, and it has been confirmed that this is sadly still the case even today. It has already been a very bad week for Google, with the leak of software engineer James Damore damning manifesto claiming that men are better suited to leadership in tech due to ‘biological differences’. But to add to that, arguably the largest and most influential company in the game is now facing a class-action lawsuit brought by 60 female employees – both current and previous – for alleged sexism and a worryingly common pay gap between men and women at the company.
The women forming part of this case recount numerous examples of the company’s sexist approach, most notably in its salary practice. According to a former senior manager at the company, who has now left the company due to the injustice, she became aware of several male counterparts earning up to $40,000 more than her for the same job, and even learned that a male employee joined her team as her junior on a higher salary. Speaking of her experience, she said “It’s demoralising. There’s something subconsciously that happens where you start to question the value that you’re adding to the company”.
This lawsuit comes as little surprise following on from the ongoing investigation into the Silicon Valley giant by the US Department of Labour. In January this year, the DoL filed a lawsuit against Google for what they observed as ‘systemic compensation disparities against women pretty much across the entire workforce’, on the basis of data from the company’s 2015 data. As a federal contractor, the DoL found that by discriminating against its female employees, Google was in breach of federal law. The class-action lawsuit will hope to use the DoL investigation as support for its claims, however since President Trump has pushed back on Obama’s legislation to protect workers’ rights, the federal investigation hangs in the balance.
This news comes after a spate of revelations of inherent sexism from companies such as the BBC and the Financial Times, so is it any wonder that people are starting to take legal action?