Google has agreed to pay $118 million to settle a class-action gender discrimination complaint involving around 15,500 women.
The lawsuit originally surfaced in 2017 when three women filed a complaint accusing the corporation of underpaying female employees in violation of California's Equal Pay Act, alleging a compensation disparity of around $17,000.
According to a Bloomberg report, the complaint also claims that Google forces women into lesser career paths, resulting in lower pay and bonuses when compared to their male counterparts. Last year, the plaintiffs were granted class-action status.
In a news release accompanying the settlement, it states Google is also required to have an outside labor economist assess its recruiting procedures and pay equity research.
Google's handling of employees has been questioned several times. Google agreed to pay $2.5 million to resolve a complaint alleging that it underpaid female engineers and ignored Asian job applications last year.
The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) is also looking into allegations of harassment and discrimination against Black female employees at the company.
"As a woman who's spent her entire career in the tech industry, I'm optimistic that the actions Google has agreed to take as part of this settlement will ensure more equity for women," Holly Pease, a plaintiff in the case, said in a statement.
"Google, since its founding, has led the tech industry. They also have an opportunity to lead the charge to ensure inclusion and equity for women in tech."
The terms of the settlement must still be authorized by a court in a hearing scheduled for June 21.
"While we strongly believe in the equity of our policies and practices, after nearly five years of litigation, both sides agreed that resolution of the matter, without any admission or findings, was in the best interest of everyone, and we're very pleased to reach this agreement," Google said In a statement to The Verge.
The company also stated that it is "absolutely committed to paying, hiring, and leveling all employees fairly and equally," and that if there is a salary gap between male and female employees, it makes "upward adjustments."
A number of similar lawsuits targeting salary disparities have emerged in the recent decade, with class-action gender discrimination actions against Microsoft and Twitter falling flat.
Oracle is also facing a class-action lawsuit alleging unequal compensation, but the group of women suing the business, according to Bloomberg Law, will likely lose class-action status after a judge declared a class with 3,000 employees and 125 job categories would be "unmanageable to proceed to trial."