Light Reading and Level 3's Mary McGrath will discuss the importance of mentoring and leadership training programs to promote fairness in hiring and promotions.

Elizabeth Miller Coyne, Managing Editor

July 28, 2016

2 Min Read
Qualcomm Pays $19.5M to Settle Gender-Bias Lawsuit

Qualcomm has paid $19.5 million to settle a gender-discrimination lawsuit that alleged women engineers at the company did not have the same access as men to equal pay and promotions, according to The San Diego Union Tribune.

The settlement covers 3,300 women who currently work or did work in STEM jobs at the company during a four-year period. While the company denied any wrongdoing, as part of the settlement, Qualcomm agreed to change its policies to prevent pay and promotion shortfalls, the article said.

The lawsuit itself highlights many of the challenges Women in Comms has been covering and discussing over the past year, including: the fact that women hold less than 15% of the senior leadership roles at Qualcomm; practices that encouraged and rewarded employees who were available at all times -- and worked early and late -- which hurt all caregivers, both men and women; and Qualcomm's policy of offering raises and promotions based on a sponsorship system where supervisors recommended workers for promotions rather than making the positions available to all which created a "glass ceiling" for women, according to the complaint.

Hopefully this settlement will open the door to the implementation and expansion of programs at other tech companies as well -- programs that support, among many other things, mentoring and leadership training to get women into senior leadership roles; education on non-discrimination policies and unconscious bias; work schedules that allow employees to care for children and other family members; and training and upskilling opportunities for employees.

To talk more about the importance of programs like these, next week on Women in Comms radio, I'm going to be interviewing Mary Beth McGrath, SVP of Global Talent Management at Level 3 Communications Inc. (NYSE: LVLT). Level 3 has implemented several unique programs focused on building the right candidates from within, in addition to filling the funnel by supporting STEM and other education programs.

During this radio show, she'll be talking about the best ways to bridge your own skills gaps so that you are motivated and equipped for change. Plus you'll have the chance to ask McGrath your questions live on the air. Register now and tune in next week. (See Level 3 & Bridging the Skills Gap.)

— Elizabeth Miller Coyne, Managing Editor, Light Reading

About the Author(s)

Elizabeth Miller Coyne

Managing Editor

Elizabeth Miller Coyne has been a writer and editor for over 20 years with 16 of those years focused on the telecom sector in a variety of capacities, including journalism, corporate communications, public relations, radio show host and more. Formerly editor of Light Reading's The New IP site, she is now leading the content and direction for Light Reading's new online learning community, Upskill U. In January, she was appointed to the NASA JPL Solar System Ambassadors program -- a public outreach program designed to work with volunteers from across the nation to communicate the excitement of JPL's space exploration missions and information about recent discoveries to people in their local communities.

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