Why Google Has To Hand Out Millions Of Dollars To Female Employees

It's the dream of many a company founder: starting a business in your garage and having it become a worldwide phenomenon. For some select companies, that dream became reality. From Mattel to Apple to Walt Disney, some companies just found a foothold and took off, via American Express. And it was in the mid 1990s that Larry Page and Sergey Brin set up the first Google headquarters in a Menlo Park, California garage paying $1,700 per month, per CNBC. It now has the 500,000 square foot Googleplex as its headquarters, per Studios.

Alphabet Inc., the parent company of Google, has a code of conduct that includes a section on equal opportunity employment that states they "strictly prohibit unlawful discrimination or harassment on the basis of [among other things] sex, gender identity or expression." But it seems like not every employee felt like that code of conduct was being followed in regards to gender equity.

Google's $118 million settlement applies to 15,500 women

In 2017, three former female Google employees filed a gender discrimination lawsuit against the company, via Forbes. They alleged, according to a website for the case, that there were "systemic" problematic practices including women with the same job as men getting paid less and women with "comparable experience and education" as men getting lower-level jobs because the women had been paid less at previous jobs. Over three years later, Google settled. Google didn't acknowledge doing anything wrong, but they will be paying out $118 million, via The New York Times. The settlement applies to 15,500 women who've worked there since September 14, 2013.

The settlement also includes external reviews of the company's pay practices and its new recruits to ensure pay equity, per Fortune. One specific example outlined in the lawsuit was the experience of Kelly Ellis. Ellis said she was made a Level 3 employee, and shortly after, a male colleague was hired as a Level 4 employee — therefore making more money — even though they both had four years of experience, per The Verge.

The Google decision comes a few months after the U.S. Women's Soccer team got a $24 million settlement and equal pay with the men's team, per NBC News. Another big company is in the crosshairs, now — Nike is facing a gender discrimination lawsuit, per Fortune.