Plaintiffs and Google Agree to $118 Million Settlement of Pay Equity Class Action

SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#EmploymentLaw–Plaintiffs’ law firms Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein LLP and Altshuler Berzon LLP announced today that Plaintiffs have reached an agreement with Defendant Google LLC ( “Google”), in which Google will pay $118 million to settle a class action gender discrimination lawsuit, Ellis v. Google LLC, No. CGC-17-561299, pending since 2017. The settlement covers approximately 15,500 female employees in 236 job titles (“covered positions”) in California since September 14, 2013.

In addition to monetary relief, the Settlement provides that an independent third party expert will analyze Google’s leveling-at-hire practices and that an independent labor economist will review Google’s pay equity studies. The post-settlement work will be supervised by an external Settlement Monitor over the next three years. The lawsuit challenged Google’s pay and leveling processes, and Plaintiffs believe these programs will help ensure that women are not paid less than their male counterparts who perform substantially similar work, and that Google’s challenged leveling practices are equitable.

Plaintiffs: The Named Plaintiffs are Kelly Ellis, Holly Pease, Kelli Wisuri, and Heidi Lamar. All of the Plaintiffs are women who worked for Google in California in a covered position since September 14, 2013. Their backgrounds:

Plaintiff Kelly Ellis worked as a Software Engineer at Google’s Mountain View office for approximately four years, departing the company with the title of Senior Manager.

Plaintiff Holly Pease worked for Google for approximately 10.5 years, in both Mountain View and Sunnyvale, holding numerous technical leadership roles, including: Manager, Corporate Network Engineering; Manager, Business Systems Integration; Manager, Corporate Data Warehouse/Reporting Team; and Senior Manager, Business Systems Integration.

Plaintiff Kelli Wisuri worked for Google for approximately 2.5 years in its Mountain View office, as an Enterprise Operations Coordinator, Enterprise Sales Operations Associate, and Google Brand Evangelist, Executive Communications Program (aka Sales Solutions Senior Associate).

Plaintiff Heidi Lamar worked as a Preschool Teacher and Infant/Toddler Teacher at Google’s Children Center in Palo Alto for approximately four years.

Next Steps: The court will set a hearing date for preliminary settlement approval, which if approved will result in the third-party administrator issuing notice to the class members. If the court later grants final settlement approval, the third-party administrator will allocate settlement amounts based on an objective formula to each qualifying class member. More information is available at the website: https://googlegendercase.com/

Statements on the Settlement:

“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,” said Plaintiff Holly Pease. “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.”

Plaintiffs’ co-counsel Kelly Dermody stated, “Plaintiffs believe this settlement advances gender equity at Google and will be precedent-setting for the industry.”

“Google has long been a technology leader. We are delighted that in this Settlement Agreement and Order Google is also affirming its commitment to be a leader in ensuring pay equity and equal employment opportunity for all of their employees,” said Plaintiffs’ co-counsel Jim Finberg.

Information about Plaintiffs’ Counsel:

Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP: Lieff Cabraser is one of the country’s largest and most successful firms exclusively representing plaintiffs in civil litigation, having secured verdicts or settlements worth over $127 billion for clients nationwide. With 120 attorneys, the firm has led some of the most significant litigation of the last decade, including the VW clean diesel emissions case, which resulted in over $15 billion for VW owners (In re: Volkswagen ‘Clean Diesel’ Marketing, Sales Practices, and Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2672 (Northern District of California federal court)); and the high-tech cold-calling wage conspiracy case alleging an agreement among prominent technology companies to not poach each other’s employees, which resulted in settlements totaling $435 million (In re: High-Tech Employee Antitrust Litigation, 11-cv-2509-LJK (Northern District of California federal court)). Partner Kelly Dermody, co-lead counsel here, led High-Tech for her firm. She is currently Chair of the Section of Labor and Employment Law of the American Bar Association, and Managing Partner of the San Francisco Office of Lieff Cabraser.

Altshuler Berzon LLP: Altshuler Berzon LLP is a San Francisco law firm that specializes in labor and employment, constitutional, environmental, civil rights, campaign and election, and impact litigation. Altshuler Berzon, LLP has been co-lead counsel in a number of civil rights class actions, including Ries v McDonalds, 1:20 CV 0002 HYJ RSK ( W.D. Mich. 2022) (sex harassment class action); and Satchell v Federal Express, C03-2878 SI ( ND Cal.) (race discrimination class action). Altshuler Berzon is currently serving as co-lead counsel in the Jewett v Oracle Equal Pay Act class action in San Mateo Superior Court, 17 Civ 02669 (San Mateo Sup.) set for trial on January 23, 2023.

Contacts

For more information:

Kelly M. Dermody

Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP

275 Battery Street, 29th Floor

San Francisco, CA 94111-3339

Telephone: (415) 956-1000 ext. 3333

kdermody@LCHB.com

Jim Finberg

Altshuler Berzon LLP

177 Post Street, Suite 300

San Francisco, California 94108

Telephone: (415) 421-7151

jfinberg@altshulerberzon.com

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