Exclusive: California Investigating Google’s Treatment Of Black Female Workers

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Dec 17 (Reuters) – California’s civil rights regulator is investigating Google’s treatment of black female workers following alleged incidents of harassment and discrimination, according to two people familiar with the matter and agency emails seen by Reuters.

Lawyers and analysts with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) repeatedly interviewed several black women who worked at Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL.O) company about their experiences there, according to the documents and sources. . The sources spoke on condition of anonymity to avoid compromising the work.

The questions centered on allegations of harassment and discrimination in the workplace, according to the emails. Conversations took place as recently as last month, one of the sources said.

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The DFEH declined to comment.

Google said it is focused on “creating lasting equity” for its black workers and that 2020 is its biggest year for hiring what it calls “black+” workers, a designation including people of multiple races.

“Our goal is for every employee to experience Google as an inclusive workplace,” he said. “We will continue to focus on this important work and thoroughly investigate any concerns, to ensure 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 has been looking for more examples of potential mistreatment.

The agency is involved in ongoing lawsuits against video game companies Tencent Holdings. (0700.HK) Riot Games and Activision Blizzard Inc (ATVI.O) alleging widespread discrimination and harassment.

But his cases don’t always result in charges.

For years, black men in the tech industry have said they’ve faced derogatory comments and disheartening experiences, such as being kicked out of offices because security guards and co-workers wondered. they were actually working there.

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

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

According to company data, workers who identify as “Black Woman+” left Google at the highest rate of any racial and gender group other than “Indigenous + American Woman” last year. . Read more

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Reporting by Paresh Dave in Oakland, Calif.; Editing by Kenneth Li and Stephen Coates

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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