Google is once again making headlines this week due to a familiar issue in Silicon Valley—the gender pay gap. At least 70 current and former female employees are expected to file a class-action lawsuit against the tech giant with the help of a San Francisco employment law firm, Altshuler Berzon LLP.
James Finberg, the civil rights lawyer and Altshuler Berzon LLP partner spearheading the class action suit, told Forbes that several dozen women came forward in just “a matter of weeks” after the firm posted both Facebook and LinkedIn notices “seeking women currently or formerly employed at Google for possible inclusion in a planned class-action lawsuit alleging gender pay discrimination.”
Since this week’s firing of Google employee James Damore, the suit has gained more fire and Finberg expects to go public “a lot earlier than [they’d] hoped or expected.”
This class-action lawsuit follows closely on the heels of a similar suit filed against Google earlier this year by the United States Department of Labor (DOL) citing evidence of an “extreme” gender pay gap within the tech company. Finberg told Forbes the current suit will draw evidence from the DOL analysis, whose evidence was taken from a collection of 21,000 employee salaries at Google’s headquarters.
Some of the concerns women are sharing, according to Finberg, are that women are being channeled into ‘softer’ jobs that are compensated less than, say, coding is and that women’s prior wages were used to create their Google salary.
If the latter were to be true, Finberg comments, “That’s institutionalizing gender discrimination, and it’s against California law.”
Although the year may be 2017, and you can’t seem to walk down a street without bumping into a feminist, women continue to earn less than their male counterparts in the workplace. Despite a certain Google employee’s claim that the gender pay gap is a myth, the data proves otherwise.
According to a report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2015, women earn an average of $0.80 for every $1 men do. The report broke this down by age as well, indicating that younger women have a narrower pay gap than older women do. This gap tends to be wider for older women, as they faced bigger gaps when starting their careers than younger women do, hurting their long-term earnings.
That $0.20 wage gap adds up at the end of the day, costing women a loss of around $10,470 each year, according to a report published by the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) in March this year. For a white, 20 year-old-woman just starting her career today, that loss over a 40-year period adds up to a grand total of $418,800. If that same woman’s male counterpart were to retire at age 60, it would take her another 10 years (retiring at 70), to close that gap. The same NWLC report notes that this situation is compounded even more for women of color. Depending on the state she lives in, a woman of color might have to work past the age of 100 in order to bridge the gap to her white male counterpart.
Finberg and Altshuler Berzon LLP intend to move forward with the class-action suit “within the next few weeks.” It looks like stories about Google and the gender pay gap will be gracing headlines throughout all of 2017.