Google sued over gender discrimination

California (USA), September 15: Three former female employees of Alphabet Inc’s Google have filed a lawsuit against the tech giant alleging discrimination in pay and promotions against women.

Kelly Ellis, a former employee of Google, has filed the lawsuit over discrimination against the female staff in salaries, promotions, and advancement opportunities as compared to men. Hired in 2010, Ellis was appointed at a college graduate level even though she had despite having an experience of four years.

The other plaintiffs, apart from Ellis include Holly Pease (hired in 2005), and Kelli Wisuri (hired in 2012) echo Ellis’ allegations of bias against women in promotions. Despite years of experience in their respective fields, the plaintiffs allege of starting their jobs in Google at lower levels as compared to their male colleagues. All of them stated their reason for resignation being “lack of opportunities for advancement for women”.

The lawsuit seeks class-action status covering women working in the largest search engine for the last four years. Filed in San Francisco Superior Court, the lawsuit comes at a time when Google is already facing an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor in sex bias in pay practices.

Google had earlier made headlines when a memo written by a senior Google employee, James Damore criticized diversity programs, giving out the reason for the underrepresentation of women in Google as being biological. Google later fired him.

News Sources- BBC, Reuters

Samsung acquires permit to test self-driving cars in CA

Four months after i-Phone maker and rival Apple Inc. secured permit to test self-driving cars, Samsung electronics joined the league in California on Thursday. The Samsung group sought permission from the South Korean authorities to test self-driving cars that have the company’s manufactured sensors and software systems.

The South Korean officials have confirmed that the car is being developed using a self-driving algorithm that enables it to safely drive in even adverse weather conditions. The website of California Department of Motor vehicle displayed Samsung’s name in the list along with a dozen other companies with similar permit.

The company which is mainly into manufacturing of electronic equipment such as Television, washing machines and cell-phones told Reuters that the procurement of the permit for this is to facilitate ‘smarter and safer’ transportation.

Samsung’s foray into the United States’ self-driving car market will be a huge step after the company’s  $8 billion purchase of car audio maker Harman International Industries. Other rivals in the market include Waymo, a division of Google parent Alphabet Inc besides Apple Inc.

In the early 1990s, Samsung had tried its hand in the automobile business but huge losses incurred due to Asian financial crisis forced the company to hand over its business to Renault.



Google fires author of anti-diversity memo

Search giant Google recently kicked out the male engineer, who has been in the center of turmoil in the Silicon valley, after he wrote an internal memo asserting that there are biological causes behind gender inequality in the technology industry.

Confirming his dismissal, James Damore, wrote an e-mail to Reuters saying that on August 7 he had been fired for perpetuating gender stereotypes.

Damore also revealed that he was exploring all possible legal remedies and before he was fired, he had submitted a charge to the U.S. National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) accusing Google upper management of trying to shame him into silence, reported NDTV.

Talking about the case, Google which is a unit of Alphabet Inc said that it cannot talk about individual employee cases.

A note saying that portions of the anti-diversity memo violate their Code of Conduct and cross the line by advancing harmful gender stereotypes in the workplace was also sent to Google employees by the company’s Chief Executive Sundar Pichai.

According to the U.S. National Labor Relations Act, workers, whether they are a part of a union or not, are guaranteed the right to engage in concerted activities for their mutual aid or protection.

It is being said that the U.S. Department of Labor is investigating whether Google has unlawfully paid women less than men. The company, however, has denied the charges.

Sources: NDTV, Hindu

Airbnb Inc. to raise $153 million more

Airbnb Inc., a home rental start-up is looking forward to raise an additional $153 million in its second funding round as a part of its global expansion. According to research firm CB Insights, the total valuation of the company by the investors is worth $30 billion.

On Friday, the company recorded a sale of $153 million in equity to investors. The price-per-share for the sale is $105, up from the $93.09 share price the company commanded in its 2015 financing round, according to CB Insights.

This year, Airbnb bagged the second spot on CNBC’s Disruptor 50 list. The growth is pretty much impressive as it is no longer limited to the US markets exclusively. The United States now constitute only 16% of its global listings.

The global growth of the home-stay network is now valued at $25.5 billion. Its recent expansion in Europe has been nothing but fantastic. “Their expansion into Europe was spectacular,” said Airbnb board member Alfred Lin, a partner at venture capital firm Sequoia Capital.

The recent shift of events indicates that Asian cities like Osaka, Tokyo and Beijing are three of the top five fastest-growing cities of Airbnb. Stock-market pundits predict that with such rate of growth, the company might go public by the end of 2017.


Sources: ReutersBloomberg

Image Source: Representational image taken from Today

Cuba in an internet deal with Google

In a deal with Google, Cuban government gave people the chance to use quicker internet and expanded access to its branded content.

The deal was signed on Monday between Eric Schmidt, chairman of Google’s parent company Alphabet Inc., and Mayra Averich Marin, the president of state telecommunications monopoly ETECSA.

The agreement will allow Cubans to access Google Global Cache network, where content like YouTube and Gmail is stored on servers closer to the users. As a country which has little public internet access and slow and expensive Wi-Fi hotspots, it is difficult to predict the impact this service would create in the short term.

Alana Tummino, senior director at the America’s Society/ Council of the Americas told NBC, “Telecoms and greater internet connectivity have been key pillars of the new U.S policy toward Cuba, and Cuba has developed its own national development strategy to bring greater internet access to its people.”

Both Google and ETECSA did not immediately make a comment.

Tummino points out that though Google and other companies must build that trust with Cuban officials, the scope for more telecom deals still remains.

Source: NBC News, Reuters

Image source: Reuters