Published on:

Pay Discrimination Lawsuit Against Google Gets Class Certification

It’s common for employers to ask job candidates about their work history and salary requirements, but what about when companies start asking about a candidate’s salary history? Is that legal?

The difference between salary requirement and salary history is that a salary requirement is a compensation you are asking for the job for which you are applying, whereas salary history refers to what you were paid in previous positions. A potential employer asking for your salary requirement is perfectly fair and legal, but asking for your salary history is another matter entirely.

Women’s rights advocates have long pointed out the unfairness of gender discrimination when it comes to how much employers are willing to pay their workers, and they say the problem often starts with asking candidates what they earned in previous positions. Since payment disparities between the genders have existed for decades, using a candidate’s salary history to determine how much they should be paid in a new position is often just a way to perpetuate that disparity. Many cities and states across the country have started prohibiting employers from asking candidates about their salary history for that very reason.

California is one of the states that legally prohibits companies from asking workers about their salary history, but according to a recent class action employment lawsuit against Google, the tech giant allegedly violated that law, among others. The complaint also alleges Google had a history of assigning female job candidates to lower positions with lower salaries, compared to their male counterparts.

The class-action lawsuit was originally dismissed back in December because the class of workers who were allegedly affected was too broad, so the plaintiffs came back with a revised complaint the next month. The new complaint broke down plaintiffs by the position they held, including those who worked as managers, engineers, sales representatives, and teachers. All told, the new complaint listed 30 positions at Google that were allegedly affected, and added Heidi Lamar, who used to be a teacher at Google’s Children Center in Palo Alto, as a plaintiff.

Google filed a motion asking for the positions of the program manager and engineer to be removed from the complaint, claiming they did not cite specific allegations for those positions, but the judge disagreed. Judge Mary E. Wiss, of the California Superior Court, said the plaintiffs had successfully defined a class of potential plaintiffs that was large enough, and whose complaints were similar enough to justify pursuing the employment lawsuit as a class action. All that, combined with the judge’s declaration that Google had failed to provide a convincing argument against certifying the class, was reason enough for Judge Wiss to allow the pay discrimination lawsuit to move forward as a class action.

Google has released a statement assuring the public that the allegations of the lawsuit are false. While they have said they will review the allegations, they insisted that they maintain a rigorous hiring process and promotion committees, which are required to pass multiple levels of review.

All that may be true, and yet gender discrimination might be such an inherent part of the culture that they simply aren’t aware of their own biases.

The Chicago class action lawyers at the Chicago Overtime Law Center are investigating unpaid overtime claims by waiters and bus boys and other restaurant and hotel workers against national restaurant chains including Hilton, DoubleTree, W, Marriott, Sheraton, Holiday Inn, Extended Stay America, Staybridge Suites, Best Western, HomeTown Buffet, Old Country Buffet, Applebees, Chipotle, Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Cracker Barrel, Outback Steak House, Taco Bell, Burger King, Chili’s, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, Wendy’s and hotels for mis-classifying employees as managers or assistant managers, forcing employees to work off the clock at business, failing to share all tips, erasing or altering time sheets or time records, pressuring workers not to report or record overtime, and otherwise failing to pay workers for overtime and other wages. If you are the victim these wage theft practices call us at (312) 869-4095 or contact us online.

The Chicago class action attorneys at the Chicago Overtime Law Center have three decades of experience fighting to help employees who are victims of wage, overtime and tip theft by their employers. We have a team of Chicago unpaid overtime lawyers who concentrate on prosecuting state and nationwide class action lawsuits. Our attorneys work out of Chicago and Oak Brook offices and pursue claims for workers all over the Chicago area including Glenellyn and Naperville. We protect unpaid workers who haven’t received overtime throughout the Chicago area including in DuPage, Lake, McHenry, Kane and Cook Counties.

Our Mokena and Joliet overtime lawyers are intimately familiar with the issues that arise during wage claim litigation, and we know the laws that govern overtime cases well. Many employers mis-classify employees as being exempt from overtime laws and pay workers salaries instead of hourly wages in order to avoid paying them overtime. Some employers mistakenly classify employees as exempt and others intentionally do so in order to circumvent the law. In either case, workers do not receive the wages they should, and a lawsuit may be the only way to recover their earned wages.

The Chicago Overtime Law Center is based in Chicago, and represents clients throughout the country who have unpaid overtime and other employment right claims.