Google Faces Another Gender-Based Discrimination Lawsuit at Start of New Year

Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel


On January 3, 2017, a former Google employee filed a complaint in San Francisco containing another round of gender-based discrimination claims against Google Inc. Plaintiff, Heidi Lamar, is alleging that the company paid more-experienced female workers lower salaries than their less-experienced male counterparts.

The class action filed this week against Google for gender discrimination comes after a judge previously dismissed a similar lawsuit that was deemed “overly broad.” The latest suit of a more narrow scope includes workers in engineering, research, management, sales and now, education.

Plaintiff, a former preschool teacher employed by Google, adds to the new complaint preschool teachers who previously worked in the company’s childcare center. Lamar is alleging that female teachers employed by the company were paid lower salaries than men who were hired with fewer qualifications and less experience.

During the plaintiff’s four years working for the company before ultimately leaving the position in 2017, the tech giant employed 147 women and three men in teaching positions. Two of the three men were paid higher salaries than all 147 of the female teachers.

When Plaintiff was hired in 2013, she had five years of experience in a similar position and a master’s degree in teaching at the early childhood education level. Despite her qualifications, the company hired her as a “Level 1” employee—the lowest possible category. At this time, she was making $18.51 an hour, even after attempts to negotiate her salary with the company.

The plaintiff was eventually promoted but in March 2017, discovered that one of her male colleagues was hired as a “Level 2” employee with a base salary of $21 per hour. His salary was 13% higher yet he was allegedly less experienced and significantly less qualified as he did not possess a master’s degree in teaching.

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“The biggest difference was that he’s a man,” Plaintiff stated. “My first reaction was to immediately feel angry and insulted.”

Plaintiff brought the issue to Google’s human resource department. A representative told her there was no bias in the hiring practices, but refused to provide any data on the gender breakdown of Level 1 and Level 2 employees.Displeased with the company’s response, the plaintiff saw no other recourse except to submit her resignation, stating, “It feels really scary to speak up, but I do it for the women I work with and the women who are still at Google. We deserve livable wages.”

The case is: Kelly Ellis, Holly Pease, Kelli Wisuri, and Heidi Lamar v. Google, LLC. Case No.: CGC-17-561299

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