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Lawsuit claims Google pays Black workers less

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A lawsuit filed Friday alleges Google has a systemic racial bias against Black employees.

The suit argues the technology company gives them lower-level jobs, pays them less and denies advancement opportunities due to race.

A complaint seeking class-action status accuses Google of having a “racially biased corporate culture.”

“Black Google employees face a hostile work environment and suffer retaliation if they dare to challenge or oppose the company’s discriminatory practices,” the complaint reads.

According to Google’s annual diversity report, just 4.4% of Google’s 156,500 employees are Black, and only 3% of the company’s leadership positions.

“While Google claims that they were looking to increase diversity, they were undervaluing, underpaying, and mistreating their Black employees,” Ms. Curley’s attorney, Ben Crump, said in a statement to Reuters.

This lawsuit is not the first time Google has been accused of racial wrongdoing. Reuters reported in December that California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing is investigating the company for the mistreatment of Black female workers.

Ms. Curley’s lawsuit seeks to recoup compensatory, punitive damages and lost compensation for Google’s current and former Black employees. The suit also hopes to restore current and former Black employees to their positions and seniority.

When Ms. Curley was hired in 2014, just 1.9% of Google’s employees were Black. The company added five White top-level executives over the next two years, but just one Black executive remained.

Ms. Curley, who worked as a diversity recruiter at Google, shared her experience on Twitter in December 2020, just over two months after she was terminated. 

Ms. Curley said she was “repeatedly denied promotions, had my compensation cut, placed on performance improvement plans, denied leadership opportunities, yelled at, [and] intentionally excluded from meetings.”

“My skip-level manager, a White woman, told me VERBATIM that the way I speak (often with a heavy Baltimore accent) was a disability that I should disclose when meeting with folks internally,” she added.

On Twitter, Ms. Curley did not name names, but a Google spokesperson denied her claims.

“We don’t agree with the way April describes her termination, but it’s not appropriate for us to provide a commentary about her claims,” a Google spokesperson told Business Insider in Dec. 2020.

According to Ms. Curley, she was hired to shift Google’s relationship with Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

As she began her employment, Ms. Curley said her colleagues “screened out” resumes of students who attended unfamiliar universities.

Ms. Curley claims that hiring managers questioned the HBCU’s computer science curriculums and said their education was inferior to elite, White institutions.

Google did not respond to a request for comment.


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