A former YouTube employee sued Google for allegedly pressuring recruiters to only search for female, African-American, Hispanic or Latin American candidates. Arne Wilberg – who spent nine years working at Google – filed a discrimination complaint in January, and The Wall Street Journal reported its existence today. Wilberg states that Google implemented "clear and irrefutable policies" aimed at excluding white and Asian men in an attempt to increase the overall diversity of the company. He also claims that Google retaliated against him for opposing these policies, and finally dismissed him in November 2017.
Wilberg's lawsuit targets Google and 25 unidentified Google employees who allegedly applied discriminatory hiring policies, citing a series of emails and other documents. It states that for several quarters, Google would only hire people from historically underrepresented groups for technical positions. In a recruitment round, the team was allegedly instructed to cancel all software engineering interviews with non-diverse applicants below a certain level of experience, and to "completely purge any requests from non-diverse employees of the hiring line". California labor law prohibits refusing to hire employees based on characteristics such as race or gender.
Google allegedly "purged" applications from non-diverse employees
Wilberg alleges that several employees complained to Google about the company's hiring policies, but were ignored, transferred or demoted. The lawsuit says that some employees of marginalized groups were not comfortable with a program called "Project Mirror," in which they would be specifically assigned to interview candidates of their own race or gender. One person allegedly "complained that the managers were talking about blacks as if they were objects."
Google told The Wall Street Journal that "we have a clear policy to hire candidates based on their merit, not their identity … At the same time, without apology we try to find a diverse group of qualified candidates for open roles, since that this helps us hire the best people, improve our culture and create better products. " However, the Journal cites anonymous sources that corroborate some of Wilberg's claims.
As of 2017, 69 percent of Google's workforce was male, compared to 70 percent in 2014, and 91 percent was white or Asian, a percentage that has barely changed in three years. But two former Google employees sued the company earlier this year for allegedly discriminating against white men, in a much nebulous and widespread complaint. On the contrary, Google also faces lawsuits claiming that it paid less for women, fired an employee for Internet publications in favor of diversity and created a "sibling culture" that fostered sexual harassment.