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Altshuler Berzon, a small San Francisco firm, has taken on some giants in the Silicon Valley recently.
The 25-lawyer firm sued Google last month, alleging gender and pay discrimination. Not ones to rest on their pleadings, the attorneys are also suing Oracle on gender grounds. In some ways, the tech giants are easy pickings because the government made similar accusations against them last year.
"Awful to Women"
When the Atlantic said Silicon Valley is "Awful to Women" earlier this year, it was repeating a secret that got out years ago: the tech industry discriminates against women.
Google, Facebook, and others have tried to address it, but talking about the problem is not solving it. That's where the lawyers come in.
While tech has stepped up training to fight sex discrimination internally, firms like Altshuler Berzon have applied pressure from the outside. They are doing it through class-actions because, after all, Google employs more than 72,000 people, and Oracle has more than 136,000 workers.
"Google has discriminated and continues to discriminate against its female employees by systematically paying them lower compensation than Google pays to male employees performing substantially similar work under similar working conditions," the Google lawsuit claims.
Cut and paste to the Oracle case:
"Oracle has discriminated against Plaintiffs and all Class members in violation of California Labor Code Section 1197.5 by paying its female employees at wage rates less than the wage rates paid to male employees for substantially equal or similar work, when view as a composite of skill, effort, and responsibility, and performed under similar working conditions," the complaint says.
Media reports have bouyed the campaign against gender discrimination in the industry. USA Today reported that Oracle's board voted down a proposal to publish a gender pay gap report.
Other companies, including Microsoft, Apple, and eBay, have published such reports and committed to pay equity.