A recent verdict has found Google liable for gender discrimination, resulting in a $1.1 million award to Ulku Rowe, a female executive at Google Cloud. The lawsuit brought forward by Rowe claimed that Google offered her a lower salary compared to her less-experienced male peers and retaliated against her for raising concerns.
Details of the Allegations
Rowe's allegations centered around the claim that Google had not only provided her with a lower salary compared to her male counterparts but also denied her promotions as a form of retaliation for her complaints. She further stated that her tenure at Google was marred by what she perceived as “unfair compensation and treatment” due to her gender. Highlighting a specific instance, Rowe mentioned being overlooked for a vice president position, which was subsequently awarded to a male candidate who had neither applied for the role nor possessed the necessary qualifications. Following her lawsuit, she was again denied a similar promotion.
In response to the verdict, Attorney Cara Greene stated, “The unanimous verdict not only validates Ms. Rowe's allegations of mistreatment by Google,” but also emphasizes that workplace discrimination and retaliation are unacceptable. On the other hand, Google spokesperson Courtenay Mencini expressed the company's satisfaction with the jury's conclusion that Rowe was compensated fairly and was not denied any promotions in violation of New York's pay equity laws. Mencini further stated:
“We are pleased that the jury unanimously found that Ms. Rowe has been paid and leveled fairly from the time she was hired to date, and that she was not subsequently denied any promotions – with no violation of New York's pay equity laws. As the jury's verdict supports, fairness is absolutely critical to us and we strongly believe in the equity of our leveling and compensation processes.
We disagree with the jury's finding that Ms. Rowe was discriminated against on account of her gender or that she was retaliated against for raising concerns about her pay, level, and gender. We prohibit retaliation in the workplace and publicly share our very clear policy. We take employee concerns seriously, and we thoroughly investigated Ms. Rowe's concerns when she raised them and found there was no discrimination or retaliation.”
The verdict comes in the wake of significant internal unrest at Google. In 2018, over 20,000 Google employees and contractors participated in a walkout, protesting the company's handling of sexual assault allegations. This mass protest was sparked by revelations that Google had provided a hefty exit package to Android co-founder amid sexual assault allegations.