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Google to Pay $118 Million to Settle Gender Discrimination Lawsuit

More than 15,000 women are involved in the class action lawsuit.

Alexandra Garrett Associate Editor
Alexandra is an associate editor on CNET's Performance Optimization team. She graduated from Marymount Manhattan College in New York City, and interned with CNET's Tech and News teams while in school. Prior to joining CNET full time, Alexandra was a breaking news fellow at Newsweek, where she covered current events and politics.
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Google

Google settles a gender discrimination lawsuit.

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Google has agreed to pay $118 million to settle a class action gender discrimination lawsuit involving 15,500 women who have worked for the search giant since 2013, the law firms representing the plaintiffs said in a statement Saturday. 

The settlement ends a 2017 lawsuit, Ellis v. Google, filed in San Francisco Superior Court by former Google employees who accused the company of violating California's Equal Pay Act. The women said Google underpaid female workers, placed them in lower-level jobs and denied them promotions and transitions to other teams. 

The settlement also requires independent third-party experts to analyze Google's hiring practices and pay equity studies.

"As a woman who's spent her entire career in the tech industry, I'm optimistic that the actions Google has agreed to take as part of this settlement will ensure more equity for women," Holly Pease, one of the four named plaintiffs, said in the statement. "Google, since its founding, has led the tech industry. They also have an opportunity to lead the charge to ensure inclusion and equity for women in tech."  Pease worked at Google for over 10 years in several technical leadership positions.

Google didn't acknowledge any wrongdoing as part of the settlement. 

"While we strongly believe in the equity of our policies and practices, after nearly five years of litigation, both sides agreed that resolution of the matter, without any admission or findings, was in the best interest of everyone, and we're very pleased to reach this agreement," a Google spokesperson told CNET. The spokesperson added that Google is committed to paying, hiring and leveling all employees equally. 

The terms of the settlement still need to be approved by a judge. A hearing on a preliminary approval is scheduled for June 21. 

Google has long grappled with allegations of gender and pay discrimination. Last year, the tech giant settled a lawsuit claiming that it underpaid women engineers and overlooked Asian job applicants for nearly $2.6 million. The company was also sued in March for allegedly maintaining a "racially biased corporate culture" that discriminates against Black employees and favors white men.