What you need to know
- Google has apparently scaled back its diversity and inclusion programs so as to not be seen as being anti-conservative.
- Sojourn, a racial justice program for Google employees, was cut entirely last year.
- Google has denied the claims, saying diversity and inclusion remain a "company-wide commitment."
Eight current and former Google employees have alleged that the tech giant has significantly scaled down its diversity and inclusion initiatives to avoid being seen as anti-conservative. Speaking to NBC News, the employees said that in addition to scaling back or cutting such programs entirely, Google has also been reducing the size of the team responsible for those programs since 2018.
A well-liked racial justice program called Sojourn was among the diversity training programs that were cut entirely in 2019. "One of the major motivations for cutting Sojourn is that the company doesn't want to be seen as anti-conservative," a Google employee told NBC News. The employees also claim that people who worked on diversity training programs at Google were transferred to other projects or had their work taken away entirely throughout 2019.
Google, however, has disputed the allegation and said that diversity, equity, and inclusion remain a commitment. Melonie Parker, Google's chief diversity officer, told NBC News that the changes made to the company's diversity and inclusion programs were focused on the need to "provide a scalable solution across the globe." Sojourn, Google says, was ended because it was "too difficult" to scale globally, due to its focus on racial issues in the United States.
Only 3.3 percent of Google employees identified as African American in 2019, an increase of less than 1 percent compared to the previous year. Its employee diversity for Latino employees, on the other hand, rose just two percent to 5.7 percent.
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