Lawsuit says Google discriminates against black workers | Technology

By BARBARA ORTUTAY – AP Technology Writer

A former Google employee has sued the tech giant for racial discrimination, saying it engaged in a “pattern and practice” of unfair treatment for its black workers. The lawsuit claims the company channeled them into lower-level, lower-paying jobs and subjected them to a hostile work environment if they speak out.

April Curley was hired in 2014 to recruit black candidates for the company. Her lawsuit, filed Friday in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Jose, claims she was unlawfully fired in 2020 after she began speaking out and ‘called for reform of barriers and double standards imposed by Google on black employees and applicants,” according to the lawsuit.

“Consistent with its strong and racist corporate culture, Google is engaged in a pattern and practice of racial discrimination against its African American and Black employees,” the complaint states. “Google’s centralized management, which is almost devoid of black representation, has biased and stereotypical views about the abilities and potential of black professionals.”

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As a result, the trial continues, black employees are paid less, advance less and often leave the company.

A Google representative did not immediately respond to a message for comment on Monday.

The lawsuit, which seeks class-action status, echoes years of complaints from black employees at the company. This includes prominent artificial intelligence specialist Timnit Gebru, who said he was expelled in 2020 after a dispute over a research paper examining the societal dangers of an emerging branch of artificial intelligence.

At the time, Gebru posted on Twitter that she had been fired, but Google told employees she had quit. More than 1,200 Google employees signed an open letter calling the incident “unprecedented search censorship” and accusing the company of racism and defensiveness.

Curley’s lawsuit claims the company viewed black applicants ‘through harmful racial stereotypes’ and claimed hiring managers viewed black applicants ‘not ‘googly enough’, just a dog whistle for racial discrimination’ .

Additionally, according to the lawsuit, investigators “haze” and undermine black applicants and hired black applicants into lower-paying, lower-level roles with less potential for advancement based on their race and stereotypes. racial.

Curley and others, according to the suit, were often “locked into dead-end jobs.”

The lawsuit says Google, which hired Curley specifically to recruit black candidates for the company, wanted her to “quietly put on a good face for the company and toe the company line.” Instead, according to the lawsuit, she was a champion for Black Employees and Black Students who “strongly opposed and called for reform of the barriers and double standards imposed by Google on Black employees and applicants.”

In response, the complaint says Google “illegally marginalized, undermined and ultimately eliminated” Curley.

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