Former women employees at Google report discrimination

People in the Houston area may have heard about an engineer at Google who was fired because of a document he released arguing that women were biologically less likely to have the skills to work in technical careers. Several women who used to work at the company have alleged that sexism, racism and ageism there made them leave. Women reported not seeing a future for themselves at the company, hearing sexist and racist jokes and facing discrimination in terms of promotions and other aspects of their jobs.

One Asian woman said a coworker had told her she must have had an easy time getting her job because Asians are good at math. She said this was typical of comments that built up over time. A black woman reported that she felt unwelcome and was frequently asked for identification while on the Google premises when her white coworkers were not. She said prioritizing diversity was discouraged and that she felt invisible while working for the company.

Another issue was that upper management was largely male. Women said that without seeing people like themselves in those positions, it was difficult for them to envision a future for themselves at Google. The company is nearly 70 percent male and 56 percent white.

As these examples demonstrate, in some cases, discrimination can be subtle. This is why it may be important to document incidences of discrimination in order to show a pattern. People may also hesitate to report discrimination because of fear that it will affect their careers. A person who is dealing with workplace discrimination or harassment might want to talk to an attorney about how best to handle it even if the employee's intention is to initially try to resolve the situation in the workplace instead of going through legal channels.

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