Google has a mess on its hands with internal discrimination

Google sign at CES
Google sign at CES (Image credit: Android Central)

Last August, Google was placed under the spotlight for firing James Damore after he shared his controversial memorandum to Google's internal networks. The memo talked about the wage gap between men and women in the engineering field, and Damore tried to explain that this gap existed due to biological difference between males and females.

Earlier this year, Damore issued a class action lawsuit against Google with the claim that the company discriminated against white, conservative males. This whole situation has (unsurprisingly) resulted in a lot of commotion, and amidst all of this, Wired recently interviewed some employees at Google to get an idea for how this is affecting workers within the company.

After the Damore filed the lawsuit, Google employees report that diversity advocates at the company were subject to unrelenting harassment, with some of this going as far as their addresses, phone numbers, and pre-transition names for transgender employees being publically shared on the likes of 4chan.

Speaking to Wired, Engineer Colin McMillen said:

Now it's like basically anything you say about yourself may end up getting leaked to score political points in a lawsuit. I have to be very careful about choosing my words because of the low-grade threat of doxing. But let's face it, I'm not visibly queer or trans or non-white and a lot of these people are keying off their own white supremacy.

Google's security team has reportedly done their part in tackling any physical threats that are made, and Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Danielle Brown has "been supportive and reassuring" during these recent events. However, not everything is perfect:

But, they say they have not been told the outcome of complaints they filed against coworkers they believe are harassing them, and that top executives have not responded assertively to concerns about harassment and doxing. As a result, some employees now check hate sites for attempts at doxing Google employees, which they then report to Google security.

At Google, employees are required to go through training for ethnic, racial, and sexual diversity. Damore said in the memorandum that the training programs are "highly politicized" and that they alienated non-progressive individuals, but an anonymous black female employee says:

The programs lack context about discrimination and inequality and focus on interpersonal relationships, instructing employees to watch what they say because it might hurt someone's feelings. "It robs Google of the chance to discuss these issues," and leaves criticisms unanswered, she says. She says co-workers and her manager have described diversity as "just another box to check and a waste of time."

In addition to these current events, former engineer Cory Altheide said that problems go back as far as 2015 when he quit. According to Altheide, one Google wrote on an internal blog that said:

Blacks are not equal to whites. Therefore the 'inequality' between these races is expected and makes perfect sense.

Wired says that Google's confirmed it's met with all employees that have shown concern regarding these issues, and while this whole situation will likely continue to develop over the coming months, it is interesting (and a bit disheartening) to get a closer look inside how this is affecting real people on the day-to-day.

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Joe Maring

Joe Maring was a Senior Editor for Android Central between 2017 and 2021. You can reach him on Twitter at @JoeMaring1.