Recent Settlements in Big Tech

LinkedIn Conciliation Agreement

Posted by Allegra Krajci and Dr. Thomas Carnahan on July 19 2022

LinkedIn Conciliation Agreement

In May, the professional networking site, LinkedIn entered into a $1.8 million conciliation agreement with the Department of Labor over allegations of systemic gender-based pay discrimination. During the OFCCP’s routine compliance evaluation, they found that LinkedIn paid their San Francisco female Engineering and Marketing workers and their Sunnyvale female Engineering and Product workers less than they paid their similarly situated male workers in those job families even after taking into account “legitimate explanatory factors”. As a result of this violation of EO 11246, LinkedIn will be paying the $1.8 million in back wages to the 686 affected female employees.

In addition to paying the $1.8 million, LinkedIn has agreed to conduct a staff training program to ensure compliance. Over the next 3 years, LinkedIn will also be evaluating whether the company’s compensation practices are “gender neutral”, send the OFCCP reports on compensation policies, and will make any necessary adjustments to rectify differences.

Google Gender Discrimination Class Action Settlement

In June, Google agreed to pay $118 million to settle on a class action lawsuit, Ellis v. Google LLC, that accused the company of systematically underpaying women compared to men in similarly situated jobs. Google was also accused of assigning women to lower levels and failing to pay all wages to employees upon their separation. The 4 named plaintiffs originally sued Google in 2017. The settlement covers over 15,000 female employees in 236 job titles in California since September 14, 2013. The court findings revealed that Google would frequently ask applicants for prior salary history in order to set pay levels, which according to the filing, assigned “women to salary levels below the work that they actually perform.” This finding falls in line with substantial research indicating that prior salary history disadvantages females and minorities when setting compensation.

As part of the settlement agreement, an independent third party expert will analyze Google’s leveling at hire practices and an independent labor economist will review Google’s annual pay equity audits and make any recommendations to help them more accurately analyze whether employees are paid equitable for comparable work.

This isn’t the first time that Google has reached a settlement on a gender discrimination suit. In 2021, Google reached an early resolution conciliation agreement with the Department of Labor over systemic compensation and hiring discrimination. They agreed to pay more than $3.8 Million to more than 5,000 female engineering employees, in addition to reviewing their practices related to hiring and compensation.

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