3 former employees sue Google over alleged gender pay discrimination: 5 things to know

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Three former Google employees filed a lawsuit against the company Sept. 14 citing alleged gender discrimination in pay and promotions, Reuters reports. The three women filed the proposed class action lawsuit in a California state court in San Francisco.

Here are five things to know about the lawsuit.

1. The plaintiffs comprise a former software engineer, former communications specialist and former manager at Google. Their proposed class action lawsuit would represent a class of women who worked at the Mountain View, Calif.-based tech company in California during the last four years.  

2. The plaintiffs alleged the company assigned female employees to positions with fewer routes for advancement. Google hired Kelly Ellis, the former software engineer, for an entry-level position in 2010, according to the lawsuit obtained by NPR. Although Ms. Ellis had four years of previous experience, she claimed a male engineer with a similar background was hired for a more senior position within a few weeks of her starting at the company.

3. The plaintiffs alleged Google violated a California law that mandates equal pay for similar work and accused the company of paying female California employees less than their male colleagues who do similar work, according to Reuters. The three women are seeking damages and penalties from the company, including wages they say they are owed under California labor law, NPR reports.

4. The lawsuit seemingly represents the first "class action sex bias claims" against Google, Reuters reports. However, it follows an ongoing investigation into the company by the U.S. Department of Labor, which accused Google of violating federal employment laws with regard to its salaries for female employees.

5. In an emailed statement, Google spokeswoman Gina Scigliano told Becker's Hospital Review the company would "review [the lawsuit] in detail, but we disagree with the central allegations."

"Job levels and promotions are determined through rigorous hiring and promotion committees, and must pass multiple levels of review, including checks to make sure there is no gender bias in these decisions," she continued. "And we have extensive systems in place to ensure that we pay fairly. But on all these topics, if we ever see individual discrepancies or problems, we work to fix them, because Google has always sought to be a great employer, for every one of our employees."

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