Qualcomm STEMs gender lawsuit with US$19.5 million

Class action engineers ways to pull down glass ceiling

Qualcomm has settled a gender discrimination lawsuit before it even made it to court.

The chip designer has agreed that its employment and human resources practices disadvantaged women, so will write a nearly US$20 million cheque to settle, and will fix its workplaces.

The lawsuit was brought by class action specialists Sanford Heisler, on the basis that the company's promotion systems got in the way of women.

To get ahead, Qualcomm's staffers need their managers' sponsorship, and the lawsuit claimed that with no way for staff to “self-nominate” for a promotion, most of the people willing to lobby their bosses to get ahead were men.

After two days of mediation, and with independent analysis of its employment and payroll data, Qualcomm agreed to the settlement.

That means by the time papers get dropped in front of a judge, the hearing will only need to rubber-stamp the settlement. That will happen at an unspecified date in the US District Court in Southern California.

As well as the $19.5 million settlement, Qualcomm agreed to make sure women in its STEM positions will have the same opportunities as men. ®


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