Three engineers sue Uber over unequal pay, claiming sex and racial discrimination

Catherine Shu

Three Latina software engineers are suing Uber for allegedly discriminating against women and people of color. Reuters reports that Ingrid Avendano, Roxana del Toro Lopez and Ana Medina filed the lawsuit on Tuesday in the Superior Court of San Francisco. It claims they were compensated less because of their gender and race.

According to Reuters, the lawsuit says Uber used an employee ranking system that is “not based on valid and reliable performance measures” and gave women, Latino, American Indian and African American employees lower scores than men and white or Asian employees.

“In this system, female employees and employees of color are systematically undervalued compared to their male and white or Asian American peers,” the lawsuit claims.

Medina is still employed at Uber, while Avendano and Toro Lopez have left. The three are being represented by Jahan Sagafi of Outten and Golden, a law firm that specializes in employee rights.

The lawsuit comes after Uber attempted to address pay inequity with new performance review system that started this summer.

This is the latest of Uber's legal issues over how it treats its workers, in particular minorities. Most notably, a blog post published by former site reliability engineer Susan Fowler in February describing a workplace culture that enabled rampant sexual harassment resulted in an internal investigation and the firing of more than 20 people.

Last year, Uber also agreed to pay $100 million to settle two class-action lawsuits, both of which said drivers should be classified as employees, not as independent contractors (the settlement allowed Uber to continue classifying drivers as contractors).

Other legal fights related to Uber include its battle with self-driving car company Waymo, which is suing Uber for allegedly stealing trade secrets, and a lawsuit filed by investor Benchmark against former chief executive officer Travis Kalanick claiming breach of contract.

TechCrunch has contacted Uber and Outten and Golden for more information.