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Judge in gender-bias suit OKs class action

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A state court judge has approved class-action status for a long-running lawsuit accusing Google of paying certain female employees less than men.

The decision this week by San Francisco County Superior Court Judge Andrew Cheng opens the way for more than 10,000 women who have worked at Google after 2012 to join the suit first filed in 2017 by several former employees.

Named plaintiffs Kelly Ellis, Holly Pease, Kelli Wisuri and Heidi Lamar claim Google discriminates against women and breaks California law by slotting women into lower salary levels than men, giving women lower-paying jobs, promoting women more slowly and less frequently, and generally paying female employees less than men for similar work.

Ellis, a former Google software engineer, welcomed the Thursday ruling. “Being involved with this lawsuit has shown just how systemic the problem is, and I think the judge agreeing that we can sue as a class shows that our allegations really are widespread and have a widespread effect on women at Google,” Ellis said by phone Friday. “I really hope this will have a positive outcome and this will bring change across the tech industry.”

Lamar, a former pre-school teacher for Google employees’ children, said she believes the Mountain View firm’s long court battle against the claims of gender discrimination shows that “Google is fearful of being seen as a company that has practices that discriminate based on gender.”

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