California-based Google has been hit with several accusations of discrimination in hiring that have led to lawsuits. The latest one to be announced alleges that the company avoids hiring white and Asian men in favor of female, black or Hispanic job applicants. The complaint was made in a lawsuit filed by a former Google employee on Jan. 29.
As of 2017, the Google workforce was 69 percent male with 91 percent being white or Asian. The lawsuit alleges that in order to diversify its workforce, Google created and enforced hiring policies that discriminated against white and Asian male job candidates. The plaintiff, who worked at Google for nine years, also claims that the company retaliated against him for opposing these policies. He was fired from his job in 2017.
Another allegation involves a Google program called “Project Mirror” in which employees were assigned to interview job applicants who were of their own gender or race. The plaintiff says that several employees were uncomfortable with this program.
In response to the lawsuit, Google stated that it bases its hiring decisions on merit and not on identity, but it “unapologetically” does attempt to find a diverse pool of people among qualified applicants. The company is also being sued for allegedly paying women less than men, for fostering a culture that encourages sexual harassment and for firing an employee because he posted pro-diversity posts on the internet. There was another lawsuit alleging discrimination against white men filed earlier in 2018.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 makes it illegal for employees to discriminate against job candidates or employees specifically because of their race, gender or national origin. In California, discrimination protection is extended to include sexual expression and gender identity. Federal law also protects workers against retaliation by an employer for reporting discrimination.