Saturday, 23 June, 2018

Sacked Google employee files lawsuit against company citing bias

According to a lawsuit filed by former Google engineer Loretta Lee the tech giant’s ‘bro-culture’ lead to routine sexual harassment and lewd comments at work Google accused of excluding Asians, whites for some positions
Olivia Ford | 04 March, 2018, 05:03

Wilberg, who recruited engineers for Google's and YouTube's parent company Alphabet, said he was sacked after complaining to upper management about the discriminatory hiring practices, and alleges that other members of his team were either disregarded, transferred or demoted. And according to the lawsuit, these actions resulted in multiple "unsubstantiated" performance reviews, and his eventual firing in November 2017. During that period, he claims the company put a freeze on hiring White and Asian men while also setting hiring quotas for so-called "diversity candidates". "We have a clear policy to hire candidates based on their merit, not their identity", she wrote in an email.

Wilberg, according to the lawsuit, "repeatedly told [his managers] that it was illegal to have such hiring quotas favoring certain groups based on race and gender, that it violated state and federal law, and that Google must immediately cease and desist from engaging, in such illegal hiring practices".

Arne Wilberg was a recruiter on Google's technology and engineering hiring team for YouTube.

Wilberg is not the only white male tech employee who has publicly bashed Google's penchant to diversify.

The lawsuit describes several instances in which Wilberg says he raised concerns with supervisors and human resources executives only to allegedly be retaliated against.

Google is facing diverse diversity lawsuits. Employment lawyers explain to the Journal that while it's permissible for companies to try to boost diversity in its ranks, they can't hire based on race or gender, meaning quotas are off-limits. In a statement to Gizmodo, the company said it "will vigorously defend this lawsuit". Wilberg alleges that one black engineer reported that she was uncomfortable only being asked to interview black candidates.

Wilberg's lawsuit is the latest legal attack on Google and its workplace culture.

The complaint cited Google policy documents from 2017 that demand diversity in hiring goals. James Damore, who was sacked after criticizing Google's diversity efforts, filed a class-action lawsuit against the company in January. In another encounter, Wilberg recalls, "One team member complained that managers were speaking about blacks like they were objects". Many have adopted policies and programs created to encourage more balanced hiring, not only to right past discrimination but for their own economic advantage: According to management consultancy McKinsey, diverse companies deliver better financial results.

In January a woman named Heidi Lamar sued the company on charges that women working as preschool teachers in Google's child care center were paid lower salaries than male counterparts who had fewer qualifications.

The company also "had a practice of systematically discriminating against older engineers in its hiring practices", the suit says.

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