LOS ANGELES: Female former top executives of Dell have sued their ex-employer, the world's second-largest computer maker, alleging gender discrimi
nation and seeking $500 million in damages.
The Texas-based multinational technology company, whose top 14 executives are male, unfairly laid off four former senior female employees in the job cuts earlier this year, said the suit seeking class action status and filed in a federal court in California.
"We believe the claims of this suit are without merit," Dell spokesman David Frink told Reuters.
"Dell does not tolerate discrimination in any aspect of employment and we'll vigorously defend any claims that we are not acting in accordance with the law or our policies," he said, declining to give additional details.
The lawsuit demands $500 million in damages on behalf of female and older former Dell employees, who they say were singled out during recent layoffs and systematically discriminated against.
"At Dell, it is an understatement to say that women face a glass ceiling -- Dell's glass ceiling is made of concrete," said Steven L Wittels, class counsel in the case and founding partner of Sanford Wittels & Heisler LLP.
Nearly 80 per cent of the top executives in Dell are male, the lawsuit said. Dell declined to comment on that figure, although its website says women and people of color represent 32 per cent of its US-based vice presidents.
The plaintiffs were repeatedly passed up for promotions and increased pay despite receiving good performance reviews, the suit said.
Wittels said he expected Dell to say that the action came too late, since federal law puts a time limit on such suits. This has become an issue in the US presidential campaign, especially after Senate Republicans blocked a bill that would have removed such time constraints in pay-discrimination claims.
Despite laws prohibiting unequal pay for equal work, women in the United States are paid about 22 per cent less than men on an average, according to the US Census Bureau.
6 months ago