March 21, 2022

Google Gives Black Workers Lower-Level Jobs And Pays Them Less, Suit Claims

A lawsuit filed last week has accused Google of systemic racial bias against Black employees, saying the company steers them to lower-level jobs, pays them less, and denies them opportunities to advance because of their race.

The complaint was filed in the federal court in San Jose, California, according to reports.

The plaintiff, April Curley, said the Alphabet Inc unit subjected Black employees to a hostile work environment, including by often requiring they show identification or be questioned by security at its Mountain View, California, campus.

Curley said Google had hired her in 2014 to design an outreach program to historically Black colleges. According to the newspaper, she said her hiring had proved to be a “marketing ploy”, as supervisors began denigrating her work, stereotyping her as an “angry” Black woman and passing her over for promotions.

It comes after the state’s civil rights regulator, the department of fair employment and housing, began investigating Google’s treatment of Black female workers and possible discrimination in their workplace.

It also comes a month after a former Google employee who resigned in 2015 publicly criticized his former employer in a Reddit post alleging a “toxic” drinking culture within his team at the time that included sexual assault.

Donald King worked as a Google software engineer from 2008 to 2015. King posted publicly on Reddit last week alleging he experienced a toxic drinking culture and sexual assault during those years.

But according to the new complaint seen by The Guardian, this new plaintiff is seeking class-action status. Curely also said Google had fired her in September 2020 after she and her colleagues began working on a list of desired reforms.

Google, according to recent stats and testimonials from staff, currently maintains a “racially biased corporate culture” that favors white men, where Black people comprise only 4.4% of employees and about 3% of leadership and its technology workforce.

This is not the first time Black employees have spoken of blatant discrimination. Lesley Miley, a former engineering director at the company, has said he has been physically stopped by co-workers as he was entering a Google office on two occasions despite wearing his employee badge as is required.

Miley and others said they had told higher-ups and executives about the issues with deputizing employees to police who do and do not belong in Google offices.

Google has been contacted for a comment.

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Abbianca Makoni

Abbianca Makoni is a content executive and writer at POCIT! She has years of experience reporting on critical issues affecting diverse communities around the globe.