This Exec Is Forcing Google Into Its First Trial Over Sexist Pay Discrimination

October 2, 2023

More than 20,000 fed-up Google employees staged a worldwide walkout in 2018 to demand a safer, fairer workplace for women after scandals over sexual harassment and unequal pay roiled the company. That fight was not an unqualified success: Pay equity data remains scarce and organizers say they suffered retaliation. But one victory—Google’s end to a forced arbitration policy requiring employees to privately settle disputes out of court—is at last bearing fruit.

A pay discrimination trial against Google is scheduled to begin in New York later this week, the first since the company ended forced arbitration. Ulku Rowe, an executive in Google’s cloud unit, alleges that she was hired at a lower level and salary than equally or less qualified men and that Google retaliated when she complained, denying her promotion opportunities and even demoting her.