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Lawsuit accuses Google of bias against black employees

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Lawsuit accuses Google of bias against black employees

A former Google employee sued the company on Friday, claiming it systematically discriminated against black workers, placed them in lower-level jobs, paid them less and denied them opportunities to advance. did.

The lawsuit, filed in US District Court for the Northern District of California in San Jose, seeks class-action status. The plaintiff is April Curly, who worked at Google since 2014 and was sacked in 2020. While there, Ms. Curley helped bring black employees into the company by designing programs for recruiting from historically black colleges and universities.

“Google knowingly engaged in a nationwide pattern or practice of racial discrimination and retaliation and maintains employment policies and practices that have a disproportionate impact against black employees across the United States,” the complaint states. Having said.

A Google spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the lawsuit.

The lawsuit echoes a number of complaints that black employees have expressed over the years about working at Google. Even as it has become one of the largest private employers in the United States, the company has struggled to increase racial and gender diversity among its workforce – particularly its high-paying engineering among employees.

According to its 2021 diversity report, 4.4 percent of Google’s US employees were “Black+”, which includes workers who identify as of more than one race, one of whom is black. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this is well below the national average of 9.1 percent for digital publishing and search companies.

The lawsuit states that Google systematically placed black employees in job positions less than what they experienced. Since pay is tied to job level, this allowed the company to pay black employees less relative to their peers.

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The complaint said qualified black candidates were often deemed not “googling” enough—an arbitrary designation that was a “dog whistle” for racial discrimination. It also said that the company often intentionally “hazzled” black job candidates with difficult questions so that they could perform poorly in interviews, and that it has criticized black workers at Google as low-wage and low advancement potential in low-level jobs. Accused of hiring.

Ms Curley also said she was subject to a hostile work environment. During her six years at the company, she said, managers often mistook her for two other black female colleagues. She said that she and those colleagues were not allowed to speak or be present during important meetings and that she felt humiliated and sexual when a manager asked which colleagues she wanted to sleep with.

The lawsuit says Ms Curley’s pay was reduced and she was reprimanded in 2019 for speaking up at team meetings and challenging internal practices. A year later, the company put Ms. Curley on a performance improvement plan, and it terminated her employment. in September 2020.

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