Uber agrees to settle equal pay claim for $10m Uber agrees to settle equal pay claim for $10m

Uber agrees to settle equal pay claim for $10m
06 Apr 2018

Ride-sharing company Uber has agreed to pay US$10 million to female software engineers and engineers of colour who claim they have not been paid equally.

According to Law 360, the settlement, if approved, would mean payouts of about US$23,800 to each of the estimated 420 engineers who were allegedly discriminated against by a performance evaluation system in which supervisors rank their workers. Uber has also agreed to work with an outside consultant to develop a new system for promoting, evaluating and compensating staff.

The class action suit was lodged in the California Superior Court in October and alleged that Uber engaged in unfair business practices and violated the California Equal Pay Act and Private Attorneys General Act.

"In this system, female employees and employees of colour are systematically undervalued compared to their male and white or Asian American peers because female employees and employees of colour receive, on average, lower rankings despite equal or better performance," the suit claimed.

An amended complaint has now been filed, establishing a class for Californian workers and a separate class for workers nationwide, which alleges violations of 10 state and federal laws or business codes. It also blames the company’s culture for the situation, citing the high-profile blog post from former engineer Susan Fowler about sexual harassment at the company and referring to an “unchecked, hyper-alpha culture”.

The proposed settlement does not require Uber to admit any wrongdoing, but would require it to internally monitor base salaries, bonuses and promotions for possible adverse impacts on workers of colour and women. A mentor will also be made available for every class member, and all new hires will receive 'check-ins' after about three months to start to address any skill gaps identified.

"Every member of Uber’s executive leadership team will participate in a twice-annual business review with Uber’s CEO relating to the organisation’s diversity representation, pipeline, diversity growth process, and actions taken to increase the representation of women and of persons of colour," the proposed settlement adds.

Of the US$10 million proposed settlement, US$50,000 would be paid out as a Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) allocation, while named plaintiffs Roxana del Toro Lopez and Ana Medina would also receive US$50,000 and US$30,000 respectively. Administration relating to the settlement is expected to cost US$110,000, and attorneys are requesting costs of up to US$170,000.

"The $10,000,000 settlement is a reasonable value in light of total potential damages, calculated by plaintiffs to be $46.9 million, excluding liquidated damages and compensatory and punitive damages for potential sexual harassment and hostile work environment claims," the proposal said.

 Emma Woollacott

Emma Woollacott is a freelance business journalist. Her work has appeared in a wide range of publications, including the Guardian, the Times, Forbes and the BBC.

Ride-sharing company Uber has agreed to pay US$10 million to female software engineers and engineers of colour who claim they have not been paid equally.

According to Law 360, the settlement, if approved, would mean payouts of about US$23,800 to each of the estimated 420 engineers who were allegedly discriminated against by a performance evaluation system in which supervisors rank their workers. Uber has also agreed to work with an outside consultant to develop a new system for promoting, evaluating and compensating staff.

The class action suit was lodged in the California Superior Court in October and alleged that Uber engaged in unfair business practices and violated the California Equal Pay Act and Private Attorneys General Act.

"In this system, female employees and employees of colour are systematically undervalued compared to their male and white or Asian American peers because female employees and employees of colour receive, on average, lower rankings despite equal or better performance," the suit claimed.

An amended complaint has now been filed, establishing a class for Californian workers and a separate class for workers nationwide, which alleges violations of 10 state and federal laws or business codes. It also blames the company’s culture for the situation, citing the high-profile blog post from former engineer Susan Fowler about sexual harassment at the company and referring to an “unchecked, hyper-alpha culture”.

The proposed settlement does not require Uber to admit any wrongdoing, but would require it to internally monitor base salaries, bonuses and promotions for possible adverse impacts on workers of colour and women. A mentor will also be made available for every class member, and all new hires will receive 'check-ins' after about three months to start to address any skill gaps identified.

"Every member of Uber’s executive leadership team will participate in a twice-annual business review with Uber’s CEO relating to the organisation’s diversity representation, pipeline, diversity growth process, and actions taken to increase the representation of women and of persons of colour," the proposed settlement adds.

Of the US$10 million proposed settlement, US$50,000 would be paid out as a Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) allocation, while named plaintiffs Roxana del Toro Lopez and Ana Medina would also receive US$50,000 and US$30,000 respectively. Administration relating to the settlement is expected to cost US$110,000, and attorneys are requesting costs of up to US$170,000.

"The $10,000,000 settlement is a reasonable value in light of total potential damages, calculated by plaintiffs to be $46.9 million, excluding liquidated damages and compensatory and punitive damages for potential sexual harassment and hostile work environment claims," the proposal said.

 Emma Woollacott

Emma Woollacott is a freelance business journalist. Her work has appeared in a wide range of publications, including the Guardian, the Times, Forbes and the BBC.

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