A New York jury has ordered Google to pay over $1 million to an executive. Ulku Rowe, a Google Cloud engineering director has accused the tech giant of discriminating against her based on her gender. She also alleged that the company later retaliated when she spoke out about it.
According to a report by Bloomberg Law, Rowe has complained that Google hired her at a lower pay and position than men with less experience who were hired for similar roles at the same time. She alleged that she was overlooked for a promotion in favour of a less qualified male colleague.
As per the court order, Google has to pay Rowe a combined $1.15 million in damages. However, the report also mentioned that she was unable to prove that the company violated the New York equal pay law.
Rowe started working at Google in 2017 and had 23 years of experience before joining the company. She also noted that the company placed her at a level that paid much less than what men were being offered.
Discrimination allegations faced by Google
In 2019, nearly 20,000 Google employees organised a walkout. These employees demanded changes in the company’s way of handling sexual misconduct and discrimination. The company promised to improve its response to sexual harassment. The report also noted that the Rowe lawsuit is the first such case Google has faced since the protests.
What the company said
In a statement to Engadget, Google spokesperson Courtenay Mencini said that “fairness is critical” to the company and it “strongly believes” in the company’s “levelling and compensation processes.”
Mencini said the jury’s finding that Google didn’t violate New York law supports this. However, he went on to dispute its decision that the company did discriminate against Rowe.
She explained: “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.”
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