Pay Equity Class Actions Increase in Number As Professional Women Voice Their Gender Bias Concerns
Women are fed up with a work environment where they routinely get less compensation and fewer promotions than men, and they are taking a stand. A legal stand. The ongoing increase in awareness around the disparity between male and female salaries, bonuses, stock options and promotion opportunities is seen as one of the primary forces behind the spread of lawsuits filed by aggrieved women seeking equality and fair treatment in the workplace.
As reported by the New York Law Journal, “In class actions filed over the past five years against firms like Goldman Sachs, Chadbourne & Parke, Microsoft Corp. and Twitter Inc., women have alleged men in top leadership positions are making all the decisions on pay and promotions, and it’s clear that those men don’t want women to get ahead.”
Both plaintiff and defense lawyers have noticed that the numbers of pay equity lawsuits have reached unprecedented levels. This year, both federal and state laws on equal pay have been amended, making it possible for more workplace gender discrimination, gender pay gap, and sexual harassment lawsuits to be filed. In the 1990s, professional woman suing over gender bias complaints was not a standard practice. But times have changed.
“In the last 10 to 15 years, women in professional jobs are now getting fed up with seeing the same problems get regurgitated generation after generation,” stated Lieff Cabraser partner and chair of the firm’s employment law practice group Kelly M. Dermody, who has filed pay equity class actions against numerous corporate giants, including Microsoft and Goldman Sachs. “I’ve had a lot of class actions involving financial services and technology by women working in highly male dominated industries where there have been prominent women who broke the glass ceiling 25 years ago and nothing changed,” Ms. Dermody added.
These lawsuits brought by female employees being denied professional support and other job advancement opportunities has shed light on the “boys club” culture found within certain companies. Dermody, whose case against Goldman Sachs falls into that category, noted that harassment claims often go hand-in-hand with unequal pay. “There’s a story within the story, which is typically these pay issues don’t happen in a vacuum of an otherwise fair and inclusive workforce,” she stated.
Upholding Employee Rights
Lieff Cabraser has a strong tradition of fighting for employee rights across America. Our employment law class action cases challenge (a) discrimination based on employees’ race, color, national origin, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, or disability; (b) wage violations, including failure to pay overtime, break time, or vacation time; and (c) misuse of employees’ retirement benefits. We also represent employees who “blow the whistle” on wrongdoing by their employers as well as in other cases alleging violations of the law.
About Kelly M. Dermody
The Chair of Lieff Cabraser’s employment practice group and Managing Partner of Lieff Cabraser’s San Francisco office, Ms. Dermody supervises many of the most significant and challenging employment lawsuits in our nation today, including cases challenging gender and race discrimination by top Wall Street, Silicon Valley, and Fortune 100 firms; wage suppression claims against technology, healthcare, and academic institutions; overtime and lost pay lawsuits for low-wage workers, I/T professionals, and foreign nationals working for American corporations; and ERISA claims that she has tried on behalf of employees and retirees for pension plan abuses.