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Google Slammed with Another Discrimination Lawsuit

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Google is slammed with yet another discrimination lawsuit, which spotlights years of complaints from Black employees.

San Jose, CAGoogle has been slammed yet again with a lawsuit alleging a pattern of racial discrimination against Black and minority employees. Filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Jose and seeking class-action status, the plaintiff accuses Google of systematic discrimination against Black workers by placing them in lower-level jobs than was appropriate for their experience, underpaying them relative to their peers and hampering their career development.

Former employee April Curley, who is Black, accuses Google of engaging in “a nationwide pattern or practice of intentional race discrimination and retaliation”. One such practice employed by Google managers deliberately “hazed” Black applicants with difficult questions so they would do poorly during interviews and be passed over. The lawsuit claims that Curley and others were often “pigeon-holed into dead-end jobs.”

Although Curley held a Master's degree and five years of experience, she was hired to an entry-level position in 2014. In 2019 her pay was reduced and she was reprimanded for speaking up in team meetings and challenging internal practice. Google put her on a performance improvement plan the following year. She was fired in September 2020. During those six years she designed programs to recruit Black employees from historically Black colleges and universities, and recruited over 500 students who worked for the tech giant, but Curley claims that Google’s campaign to generate diversity was just a public relations move. Instead, she experienced discrimination and hostility based on her race. "I felt compelled to be vocal about the racist behaviors, policies, and practices that are deeply seeded in the problematic layers of Google's diversity recruitment efforts and the treatment of Black Googlers," Curley told abc7 news.

Sexual Harassment

Curley also dealt with a hostile work environment. According to The New York Times, Curley said her managers often mistook her for two other Black female colleagues, that she and those colleagues had not been permitted to speak or present during important meetings and that she had felt demeaned and sexualized when a manager asked which colleagues she wanted to sleep with.

nother former Google employee, Chloe Sledd,  alleges sexual and racial harassment. "My first few months at Google were nothing like I imagined they would be, almost immediately it was a nightmare. A white male on my department floor began to sexually harass me,” she told abc7 news. And when she complained to Google's HR they accused her of lying and never got back to her. As a final insult, Sledd said the white male was allowed to keep his job and was not disciplined. And she was bullied into resigning. "It was clear to me they wanted me out and I didn't realize what my rights were and they took advantage of that."

In December 2021 Reuters reported that The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing is investigating Google’s treatment of female Black workers in connection with alleged incidents of discrimination and harassment. The previous year, the brilliant artificial-intelligence researcher Timnit Gebru, a Black woman who had internally attacked the company’s diversity efforts and brought to the company race-based issues, was terminated. Also in 2020, Google said it is focused on "building sustainable equity" for its Black workers and that 2020 was its largest year for hiring what it calls "Black+" workers, a designation inclusive of people belonging to multiple races.

In 2021, according to Google’s annual diversity report, only 4.4% of its employees in the U.S. were Black+, which includes multiracial people. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics says this is substantially below the average of 9.1% for Black people working for digital companies across the country. Curley’s lawsuit wants Google employees to be reinstated to their positions and awarded the value of the compensation and benefits they lost and will lose in the future. 


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