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Lawsuit accuses Uber of paying, compensating women less

Three Latina software engineers say the startup discriminates against women and people of color.

Uber is accused of paying women less than men.

Adam Berry/Getty Images

Three female Uber engineers have sued the ride-hailing startup for discrimination based on their gender and race, the latest accusation against a company struggling to reform its workplace image.

The lawsuit was filed in San Francisco Superior Court on Tuesday by three Latina software engineers who say Uber's compensation practices discriminate against women and people of color. As a result, the lawsuit says, the three women have lost out on earnings, promotions and benefits.

The lawsuit says the employee ranking system is "not based on valid and reliable performance measures" and favors men and white or Asian employees. American Indian and African-American employees receive lower performance scores, hurting their chances of advancement, pay raises, bonuses and stock options, according to the lawsuit, seen by Reuters.

"In this system, female employees and employees of color are systematically undervalued compared to their male and white or Asian-American peers," the lawsuit says.

The lawsuit is the latest blow in a tumultuous year for Uber that saw its CEO forced to resign. More than 20 employees were fired after an investigation into sexual harassment allegations, and the company is defending itself against a trade-secret theft lawsuit from Waymo, a self-driving car business run by Alphabet, Google's parent company.

Uber's problems started snowballing in February when former Uber engineer Susan Fowler wrote a blog post about her experiences working at Uber, including sexual harassment, "a game-of-thrones political war raging within the ranks of upper management" and gender bias. 

Two of the plaintiffs -- Ingrid Avendano and Roxana del Toro Lopez -- left Uber this summer after more than two years with the San Francisco-based startup, the lawsuit said. Ana Medina, the third plaintiff, is still employed by Uber, according to the lawsuit.

Uber declined to comment.

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