A leaked document tells 45 stories of Google employees who claim they’ve experienced sexual harassment, personal insults, and racism, and were then sidelined and denied promotion for being “too much of an activist.”
Apparently a product of the company’s campaign to uncover cases of retaliation, the document is a cache of personal accounts submitted by Google employees to an internal company forum.
The document was first revealed by Recode earlier this month, but Motherboard published it in full.
Writing anonymously, Googlers describe cases of their managers’ unethical business decisions, ill treatment of minorities and women within the company, and the tech giant’s attempts to keep some unpleasant things ‘in the family’.
One employee writes that their “reputation has been damaged both inside the company and throughout the industry at large” by the retaliation against them, while “the person who had been perpetuating the retaliation simply received additional “managerial coaching.”
A female employee “experienced blatant racist and sexist things from my coworker” and after reporting them “was warned that things will get very serious if continued.”
No one protected me, the victim. I thought Google was different.
Her claims are echoed by those of her colleague: “I whistle blew a colleague who used the N-word in jokes. HR found nothing conclusive. I was on track to becoming our team’s tech lead, but now I can barely even get an invitation to lunch.”
Having an active position on social issues is also not welcomed at Google, apparently, as detailed by another Googler: “They [directors] made terrible comments about people in all kinds of protected situations — including saying that a woman could not receive an ‘exceeds expectations’ because she had recently been on leave and that someone should be rated downward for being ‘too much of an activist.’”
Google has neither confirmed nor denied the authenticity of the accusations. But Eileen Naughton, Google’s vice president of People Operations, said they are working hard to bring cases of inappropriate treatment to light: “Reporting misconduct takes courage and we want to provide care and support to people who raise concerns. All instances of inappropriate conduct reported to us are investigated rigorously.”
In March, Google decided to pay $135 million to two former executives accused of sexual harassment. While last year, around 20,000 Google employees took part in a global protest urging the corporation to stop forced arbitration for issues of sexual harassment and discrimination and release a transparency report on sexual abuse in the company. Meredith Whittaker and Claire Stapleton, who stood at the core of the protest, later published an internal open letter, claiming they faced retaliation from the company for their action. Whittaker quit Google in July.