Google has been slapped with yet another lawsuit over its diversity efforts. A former recruiter of the Google-owned YouTube has accused the company of firing him for complaining against its hiring policies that discriminated against white and Asian men.
In a lawsuit, Arne Wilberg, a former recruiter at YouTube (and white male), stated that the parent company, Google, had established quotas for hiring underrepresented minorities to push the hiring of the underrepresented minorities, according to The Wall Street Journal. The lawsuit filed in San Mateo County Superior Court notes that the management used to delete the emails among other records that talked of the diversity requirements.
According to Wilberg, he was fired last year in November after he talked about the “illegal and discriminatory hiring practices” in the company. Wilberg stated that last year and in 2016, he and other recruiters were told to approve or dismiss candidates based solely on whether they were women, black or Latino.
In March 2017, a YouTube staffing manager shot an email to the recruiters stating: “Please continue with L3 [level three] candidates in process and only accept new L3 candidates that are from historically underrepresented groups.” Then, in the next email, according to Fortune, the same manager wrote that they should only consider L3s from the underrepresented groups.”
Google, on the other hand, completely rejected the claims, and says that their hiring policy strongly considers the merit of the candidate over the identities. According to a Google spokeswoman, Gina Scigliano, “We have a clear policy to hire candidates based on their merit, not their identity.”
Further, she stated that the company is not hesitant in accepting that they look for a diverse pool of qualified candidates for open roles, and this helps them in hiring the best people, improve culture and build better products.
Lawsuits against the Silicon Valley companies are on the rise as ex-employees come out to speak about the harmful and discriminatory culture prevailing at some of the biggest organizations. Such is the case with Google, which is facing several similar lawsuits accusing it of discrimination against woman, conservative white men and more.
A few months back, James Damore, a former Google employee, claimed that he was fired for writing an anti-diversity memo, which triggered loads of controversy both within and outside the organization. Damore withdrew the complaint that he filed earlier with the National Labor Relations Board after it was found that Google did not override any law while firing him.
Damore, however, is going ahead with the class-action lawsuit against the search giant where he is determined to prove the discrimination against white conservative men. Following the Damore incident, Google CEO Sundar Pichai stated that he has no regrets over firing Damore, but said he is sad about the perception of people who “misunderstand that we may have made this for a political belief one way or another.”
In another lawsuit this week, Google was dragged to court by a former female employee, who claimed that she often faced discrimination because of the so-called “bro culture” at the company. In the lawsuit, Loretta Lee, a former software engineer, noted that she faced lewd comments, pranks, and even physical violence from colleagues.
Last month, Tim Chevalier, an ex-software developer at Google, also filed a lawsuit claiming that the company fired him over pro-diversity posts circulated internally. Chevalier, who is a transgender and disabled, stated that the search giant has failed to protect the minority, female and LGBTQ employees who have to go through continuous harassment on the internal forums. But, on the other hand, the company took stern and quick actions against the employees who encountered racism, homophobia and sexism at work.
“It is a cruel irony that Google attempted to justify firing me by claiming that my social networking posts showed bias against my harassers,” Chevalier told The Verge. Chevalier, in the lawsuit, also talked about an HR representative, who talked with him last year in September about the posts and internal forums. Six months after the conversation he was fired.
These lawsuits come amid the rising debate over the efforts from the technology firms to raise the dismal numbers of women, African Americans and Hispanics in the workforce. Google is certainly facing the heat to diversify its workforce and reform its mostly white-and-Asian male workforce to constitute more women and people of color. And, this has put the search giant amid the nation’s culture wars.