Lieff Cabraser Civil Justice Blog
Kelly Dermody in The Daily Journal: Google Gender Discrimination Case Sheds Light on Industry-Wide Problems

Kelly Dermody in The Daily Journal: Google Gender Discrimination Case Sheds Light on Industry-Wide Problems

Widespread media attention has focused on the recently-filed Google gender discrimination lawsuit, which alleges that tech giant Google has engaged in multiple pay and promotion violations, as well as the illegal occupational segregation of female employees in California.

The case was filed in California state court in San Francisco by Kelly Ellis, Holly Pease, and Kelli Wisuri, three female former Google professionals, on behalf of themselves and similarly situated current and former female employees. The complaint charges that Google pays women at all levels less than men for substantially similar work, and promotes women more slowly and less frequently than their male counterparts. Plaintiffs also alleged that Google has long known of these issues but has failed to correct them, causing substantial damage to its female workforce. The suit seeks damages, and declaratory and injunctive relief.

Attorney Kelly Dermody

“This case is most significant for its impact on the culture inside technology firms,” stated Lieff Cabraser employment practice group head and co-lead case attorney Kelly M. Dermody. Industry experts and employment lawyers seem to agree. With regard to the cases’s background, the Daily Journal points out that a 2015 examination of Google’s compensation data by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs discovered “six to seven standard deviations between pay for men and women in nearly every job classification.”

“This case is proceeding under California law and is proceeding in California court,” Dermody stated, which creates a distinction from other, earlier and historic class actions in the employment sphere that utilized federal anti-discrimination laws. Such cases include the well-known Dukes v. Wal-Mart litigation, in which a federal appeals court ultimately decertified a class of thousands of female workers who alleged significant and pervasive discrimination. Dermody dismissed the idea that Dukes would automatically operate as binding precedent, in part because the Google suit includes distinctive allegations that don’t focus on “wholesale manager discretion.”

Whatever the outcome, experts anticipate the case will have a significant impact not just on Google, but on gender discrimination patterns and practices across the entire tech industry.

The case is Ellis v. Google Inc., Case No. CGC-17-561299 (San Francisco Superior Court). Read this full story on the Daily Journal site (subscription).

You can learn more about the Google Gender Discrimination lawsuit and the legal rights of women who feel they have been harmed by gender discrimination by visiting