Google reportedly questioned by California civil rights regulator over treatment of black women workers


California’s civil rights regulator is investigating Google’s treatment of black workers following alleged incidents of harassment and discrimination, according to two people familiar with the matter and the agency’s emails seen by Reuters.

Lawyers and analysts from the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) have repeatedly interviewed several black women who have worked at the Alphabet-owned company about their experiences there, according to documents and reports. sources. The sources spoke on condition of anonymity to avoid jeopardizing the work.

The questions focused on allegations of harassment and discrimination in the workplace, the emails said. Conversations only took place last month, one of the sources said.

The DFEH declined to comment.

Google said it was focused on “creating lasting fairness” for its black workers and that 2020 was its biggest year for hiring what it called “black +” workers, a designation including people belonging to several races.

“Our goal is to make every employee see Google as an inclusive workplace,” he said. “We will continue to focus on this important work and thoroughly investigate any concerns, to ensure that our workplace is representative and fair.”

The DFEH interviewed workers who filed formal complaints and those who did not, the people said, showing the regulator looked for more examples of potential abuse.

The agency is involved in ongoing lawsuits against video game companies Tencent’s Riot Games and Activision Blizzard, alleging widespread discrimination and harassment.

But his affairs don’t always give rise to accusations.

For years, black men in the tech industry have said they’ve faced derogatory comments and disheartening experiences, like being kicked out of offices because security guards and their colleagues wondered what to do with them. ‘they were actually working on it.

As more black women have entered the workforce, these complaints have increased. Seven current and former Google employees told Reuters this year they have been marginalized in projects as black women and not taken as seriously as colleagues from different backgrounds.

Artificial intelligence researcher Timnit Gebru said Google fired her a year ago for criticizing the lack of diversity in its workforce and for fighting managers who opposed the publication of a review article she co-wrote. Erika Munro Kennerly, who oversaw the diversity and strategy teams at Google before stepping down last year, told Corporate Counsel magazine in January that “there is a general tone of being undervalued” as black woman at Google.

Last year, workers identifying as “black woman +” left Google at the highest rate of any racial group other than “Native American + women,” according to company data. Google last year said it plans to increase retention by increasing staff and support programs.

© Thomson Reuters 2021


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