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Lawsuits & Litigation

Former Google Employees Sue Company for Racial Discrimination

— March 18, 2022

The lawsuit claims that Google tries to keep most of its Black employees in low-paid positions with little opportunity for advancement.

A former Google employee has filed a lawsuit against the company, accusing it of systematically discriminating against Black employees by placing them in lower-paid jobs and refusing promotions.

According to The New York Times, the lawsuit was filed Friday in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

The plaintiff, identified by the Times as April Curley, started working with Google in 2014 and remained with the company up until her dismissal in 2020.

In her position, Curley helped design programs to increase diversity by recruiting from historically Black colleges and universities.

However, Curley says that Google’s initiatives were insufficient—and that in spite of its diversity programs, the company appears reluctant to hire, employ, and trust Black employees.

Google Search Screen
Google Search Screen; image courtesy of Simon via pixabay,

“Google is engaged in a nationwide pattern or practice of intentional racial discrimination and retaliation and maintains employment policies and practices that have a disparate impact against Black employees throughout the United States,” the lawsuit alleges.

Curley claims that the company passed over otherwise qualified Black candidates, claiming they were not “Googly” enough.

However, Curley says these allegations of Black candidates and workers not fitting into the corporate culture are nothing more than racist “dog whistles” which allow Google to either refuse Black applicants or deny existing employees promotions.

The lawsuit also suggests that Google “hazed” Black candidates in job interviews, giving them intentionally difficult questions so hiring managers could easily explain why they were not offered a position.

In general, Curley alleges that Google prefers to keep Black workers in lower-paid, lower-priority jobs that afford employees lesser autonomy and little potential for advancement.

According to Curley, Google’s attempts to increase diversity were no more than a “marketing ploy.”

Shortly after she began working with Google, Curley claims that her managers denigrated her work and stereotyped her as an “angry” Black woman.

Curley says she was fired in September 2020 after she and several colleagues began working on a list of desired workplace reforms.

“While Google claims that they were working to increase diversity, they were actually undervaluing, underpaying, and mistreating their Black attorneys,” attorney Benjamin Crump said in a statement.

Crump, a civil rights attorney, is representing Curley in the case.

The lawsuit seeks to recover compensatory and punitive damages, both for Curley and other current and past Google employees.

The lawsuit has also asked the courts to order that some terminated Black employees be returned to their former positions and seniority statuses.


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