Google Stung By Lawsuit Alleging Recruitment Bias

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

Workforce diversity at Google is under the spotlight again, as a former recruiter alleges bias against white and Asian men

Google’s workforce diversity and culture is once again subjected to unwelcome headlines after another lawsuit was filed against the company.

This latest lawsuit comes from one of Google’s former recruiters, after he claimed he was fired for ignoring company orders to reject white and Asian male job applicants.

Last month Google was hit with another discrimination lawsuit after Tim Chevalier alleged he was fired for his liberal political activism whilst working for the company.

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Hiring Lawsuit

The latest lawsuit however has been filed by Arne Wilberg, who worked at Google and its YouTube unit for about nine years both as a contractor and an employee.

Wilberg alleges he was fired in retaliation for complaining to human resources about the company’s hiring practices. He also alleged that late last year, management deleted emails and other digital records of diversity requirements.

According to Wilberg, Google had “irrefutable policies, memorialised in writing and consistently implemented in practice, of systematically discriminating in favor job applicants who are Hispanic, African American, or female, and against Caucasian and Asian men,” Bloomberg reported.

The lawsuit has been filed in state court in Redwood City, California, and the case is Wilberg v. Google 18-CIV-00442, California Superior Court, San Mateo County (Redwood City).

Wilberg has alleged that in 2016 and 2017, he and his fellow recruiters were told on several occasions to approve or dismiss job candidates based solely on whether they were women, black or Latino.

He cited a YouTube staffing manager, who had apparently emailed recruiters in March 2017 and told them, “Please continue with L3 [level three] candidates in process and only accept new L3 candidates that are from historically underrepresented groups.”

Another email allegedly from the same manager wrote, “We should only consider L3s from our underrepresented groups.”

A Google spokeswoman reportedly said the company will vigorously defend itself against the lawsuit.

“We have a clear policy to hire candidates based on their merit, not their identity,” Gina Scigliano told Bloomberg in an email. “At the same time, we unapologetically try to find a diverse pool of qualified candidates for open roles, as this helps us hire the best people, improve our culture, and build better products.”

Other Lawsuits

Google has been stung by a number of lawsuits recently. As mentioned previously, last month former Google employee Tim Chevalier sued his former employer.

He alleged that Google’s workplace structure and culture as “overwhelmingly white, abled, straight, cisgender, and male.”

Chevalier identifies himself as “disabled, queer, and transgender.” He alleged that supervisors at Google were critical of his political participation and dismissive of his attempts to change Google’s culture.

And in January this year software engineer James Damore also sued Google for allegedly discriminating against conservative white males.

Google had famously fired Damore in August 2017, after his memo last year criticised the company’s diversity programme.

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