*Reports of racism and sexism at Google are not surprising, and even less shocking is the company’s alleged treatment of Black female workers.
California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing is taking seriously claims made by multiple Black women who have worked for Google’s parent firm Alphabet, and experienced incidents of harassment and discrimination, Business Insider reports.
An investigation into the allegations has been launched and comes after Google fired AI researcher Timnit Gebru, who is Black, for criticizing the company’s lack of diversity.
An insider told Reuters that the state’s civil rights regulator has conducted interviews with Black women that date back to as recently as November. Both current and former Black female Google employees said they weren’t taken seriously by white male colleagues and management, and they were marginalized on projects.
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In July, Reuters reported that Black and Latino women have left the tech giant at higher rates in 2020 than the year before.
Google isn’t the only large tech company dealing with issues concerning its Black employees. A Vox report detailed Black Amazon employees who said they were promoted less frequently and treated more harshly than non-Black peers.
Making things worse is that many of these reports and allegations came amid the 2020 Black Lives Matter movement, when Google and Amazon both made pledges towards racial equity and increasing the number of Black employees.
“Our goal is to ensure that every employee experiences Google as an inclusive workplace,” Google said when contacted by Reuters, adding: “We’ll continue to focus on this important work and thoroughly investigate any concerns, to make sure our workplace is representative and equitable.”
“This institutional racism, it’s not even just limited to Google. It’s most of these institutions in general, and specifically in the tech companies, are institutionally racist,” Timnit Gebru told the BBC.
Earlier this year, Google reportedly told employees who complained about racism and sexism at the company to take mental health leave, NBC reported.