Has Uber Engaged in Systemic Gender Discrimination in Pay?

gender discrimination

Uber Technologies Inc. is facing a class action lawsuit. The suit accuses the company of gender discrimination in pay against its female engineers. That’s to say, the complaint states that because of Uber’s policies female employees got less compensation compared with their male colleagues.

According to the class action lawsuit, the defendant is involved in systemic gender discrimination practices. The reason is that female employees don’t benefit from the same compensation and promotion opportunities, as male employees having the same position do. In fact, the complaint notes the company is implementing practices and policies, which promote gender-based payment disparities. Jahan C. Sagafi, Rachel W. Dempsey, Adam T. Klein and Rachel M. Bien of Outten & Golden LLP are representing the plaintiff.


The plaintiff who filed the class action lawsuit in the Northern District of California is Roxana del Toro Lopez. She used to work for Uber located in San Francisco between May 2015 and August 2017. She had the job position of a software engineer.

Toro Lopez says she received a different treatment from the defendant compared with her male counterparts. It’s worth noting that initially, she was an independent contractor. This means that Uber didn’t hire her as a full-time employee. She says only the fact that she was an independent contractor didn’t allow her to work effectively with the team. The problem was that she had no access to Uber’s tools and training sessions. In addition, the plaintiff pointed out that working as an independent contractor meant receiving less money than full-time employees.

Toro Lopez also mentions that usually, Uber pays women less (18%) than men who work in the same marketplace. Thus, the defendant’s actions promote gender discrimination and put female employees at a financial disadvantage.


According to the Uber class action lawsuit, the company’s promotion policy, in general, gives male employees a lot of opportunities. Moreover, when it comes to making decisions concerning salary increases, Uber takes into account the employees’ current salaries.

Regarding the method of evaluation, the defendant is using the following ranking system: ‘’stack ranking.’’ What does it mean? Well, it requires supervisors to rank employees ‘’from worst to best.’’ In this way, they assess employees’ performance.

The plaintiff doesn’t consider this method effective to evaluate an employee performance. She adds that the criteria which Uber uses are neither reliable nor valid. It is a method which helps them discriminate female employees, as Toro Lopez claims.

Why does the ranking method implemented by the defendant company impact female employees in a negative way? Actually, Toro Lopez asserts that on average women get lower rankings than men. In this case,  it doesn’t matter whether they showed equal or better job performance. As a consequence, they are unlikely to receive any compensation or promotion.

Gender discrimination:what the lawsuit seeks

The class-action lawsuit alleges Uber has violated the federal Equal Pay Act. So, the plaintiff seeks the following: back pay, injunctive relief, attorney’s fees, declaratory judgment, also any other relief which the court will consider appropriate.

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