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.
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."
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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.