California Conducts Investigation of Google Over Discrimination Against Black Women

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California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) investigates Google as discrimination and harassment allegations plague the company. DFEH has already interviewed many Black women employees about their workplace experiences as part of the investigation of Google’s parent company Alphabet Inc, Reuters reports.

DFEH interviewees include both workers who formally issued complaints and those who did not, as a way of finding more instances of discrimination against Black women at Google—according to Reuters.

Although Google hired more “Black+” people in 2020 than ever before, a mere 1.8% of Google’s tech workforce is comprised of Black women.

Over the last few years, several former Google employees spoke out about discrimination by the tech behemoth. 

Notably, AI ethics researcher and Co-founder of Black in AI Timnit Gebru was allegedly fired by Google last year for expressing discontent over the company’s diversity deficit.

“It’s not by accident that black women have one of the lowest retention rates [in the tech industry],” Gebru told BBC following her sudden exit from Google. “So for sure Google and all of the other tech companies are institutionally racist.”

April Christina Curley, a Black queer woman and former Google employee, also condemned the company for its mistreatment of Black women. Curley was terminated from her position as a diversity recruiter at Google in September of 2020.

Google hired Curley in 2014 to improve the company’s relationship with HBCUs. Before she assumed the role, Google had never hired an HBCU graduate in a tech position—according to Curley’s Twitter thread. By the time of her termination, she had recruited over 300 HBCU students into engineering jobs.

“Because of my adamant advocacy of black and brown students to be fairly and justly considered for roles at Google,” Curley tweeted. “I experienced active abuse and retaliation from several managers who harassed me- and many other black women.”

Curley claims her continuous call-outs of racism at the company resulted in her firing.

Google’s recent track record is grim with several Black employees sharing that their concerns over racist and sexist discrimination in the workplace were met with dismissive advice from human resources to take a mental health medical leave, according to NBC News.

In another instance of discrimination, a Black employee at Google had security called on him by someone who did not believe he worked at the company.

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