The tech giant Google is once again under fire for discriminating against employees, as one of their former employees filed a lawsuit last Friday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, claiming the company “engages in a ‘pattern and practice’ of unfair treatment for its Black workers. The suit [also] claims the company steered them into lower-level and lower-paid jobs and subjected them to a hostile work environment if they speak out.” 

The complaint states that “Pursuant to its strong, racially biased corporate culture, Google is engaged in a pattern and practice of race discrimination against its African American and Black employees…Google’s centralized leadership, which is nearly devoid of Black representation, holds biased and stereotypical views about the abilities and potential of Black professionals.”

The lawsuit contends that April Curley, a Black woman, “was hired to an entry-level position,” despite having five years under her belt and a Master’s degree. After working at the company for six years, and despite high performance metrics, in September 2020 Curley was wrongfully terminated. In Curley’s own words, “I felt compelled to be vocal about the racist behaviors, policies, and practices that are deeply seeded in the problematic layers of Google’s diversity recruitment efforts and the treatment of Black Googlers.”

Another ex-Googler, Chloe Sledd, also a Black woman said, “[m]y first few months at Google were nothing like I imagined they would be, almost immediately it was a nightmare. A white male on my department floor began to sexually harass me.” After being accused of lying, Google’s human resources dismissed and neglected her claims in addition to facing retaliation. Sledd was essentially “bullied into resigning. ‘It was clear to me they wanted me out and I didn’t realize what my rights were and they took advantage of that.’”

Attorney Ben Crump said, “Google says core value No. 1 is to work with great people…When you take the allegations of these minorities, and you look at the data, then one would conclude that apparently, Google believes great people are white people. Where, with this lawsuit, we’re proclaiming to Google that Black people and brown people are great people, too.”

Crump added, “April Curley was an exceptional employee at Google. She was hired to a position well below her qualifications and was consistently wrongfully passed over for promotions…While Google claims that they were looking to increase diversity, they were actually undervaluing, underpaying, and mistreating their Black employees, leading to high turnover. We will not stop until we get justice for Curley and other Black employees at Google, and until we see real change in this company’s culture…Google is a Fortune 10 company and with this lawsuit, we are telling Google it’s not about profits, it’s also about people.”

The suit is seeking class action status, and asking for the reinstatement of those employees to their positions in addition to being “awarded the value of the compensation and benefits they lost and will lose in the future.”