A former Google employee has filed a racial discrimination lawsuit against the company, alleging that it has a “pattern and practice” of treating black employees unfairly.
The lawsuit claims the company forced black employees into lower-level and lower-paying jobs and subjected them to a hostile work environment if they spoke up.
April Curley was hired in 2014 to recruit black candidates for the company.
Her lawsuit, filed on Friday, March 18 in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California in San Jose, claims she was fired illegally in 2020.
This was after she began speaking out and “called for reform of the barriers and double standards Google imposed on black employees and applicants.”
She claims, as a result, black employees are paid less, progressed less, and leave the company more frequently.
The lawsuit, which pursues class-action status, echoes years of complaints from black employees at the company.
That comprises prominent artificial intelligence scholar Timnit Gebru, who said she was pushed out in 2020 after a dispute over a research paper inspecting the societal dangers of an emerging branch of artificial intelligence.
At the time, Gebru posted on Twitter that she was terminated, but Google told employees she resigned.
More than 1,200 Google employees signed an open letter blasting the firm for racism and defensiveness, calling the incident “unprecedented research censorship.”
Curley’s lawsuit claims the company viewed black job candidates “through harmful racial stereotypes” and claimed that hiring managers deemed black candidates “not ‘Googly’ enough, a plain dog-whistle for race discrimination.”
The lawsuit states that Google, which hired Curley specifically to recruit black candidates, wanted her to “quietly put on a good face for the company and toe the company line.”
Instead, she was a winner for black employees and black students who “vocally opposed and called for reform of the barriers and double standards Google imposed on black employees and applicants.”