Google is accused of systemic bias against black employees in the lawsuit

FILE PHOTO: A sign is pictured outside a Google office near the company's headquarters in Mountain View, California
FILE PHOTO: A sign is pictured outside a Google office near the company’s headquarters in Mountain View, California, United States, May 8, 2019. REUTERS/Paresh Dave/File Photo

March 18, 2022

By Jonathan Stamp

(Reuters) – A lawsuit filed on Friday accuses Google of systemic racial bias against black employees. The search engine company steers them to lower positions, pays them less, and denies them advancement opportunities because of their race.

According to a complaint seeking class-action status, Google maintains a “racially biased corporate culture” that favors white men, with blacks accounting for just 4.4% of employees and about 3% of executives and its technology staff.

The plaintiff, April Curley, also said the Alphabet Inc unit subjected blacks to a hostile work environment, including by frequently demanding that they identify themselves or be questioned by security at its Mountain View, California campus.

Google did not immediately respond to requests for comments.

The lawsuit was filed in federal court in San Jose, California.

It comes after that state’s civil rights regulator, the Department of Fair Employment and Housing, began investigating Google’s treatment of black women workers and possible discrimination in their workplace.

Curley said Google hired her in 2014 to design an outreach program for historically black colleges.

She said her hiring proved to be a “marketing ploy” when supervisors began disparaging her work, stereotyping her as an “angry” black woman and skipping her for promotions.

Curley said Google fired her in September 2020 after she and her colleagues began working on a list of desired reforms.

“While Google claims they wanted to increase diversity, they have actually undervalued, underpaid and mistreated their black employees,” Curley’s attorney Ben Crump said in a statement.

Crump is a civil rights attorney who also represented George Floyd’s family after he was killed by former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin in May 2020.

Curley’s lawsuit seeks to recover compensatory and punitive damages, as well as lost compensation, for current and former black employees at Google, and to restore their fair positions and seniority.

The case is Curley v. Google LLC, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, No. 22-01735.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Cynthia Osterman) Google is accused of systemic bias against black employees in the lawsuit


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