It’s no secret that Google has some serious internal problems with systemic racism and sexism, but it has now come to light that when employees report incidents of workplace discrimination to HR, they are often met with this puzzling response: Get therapy.
That’s according to nearly a dozen current and former Google employees who spoke with NBC News, including two prominent black women, Timnit Gebru Y April curley, whose shady outings last year earned Google broad condemnation.
Gebru, who previously co-led Google’s Ethical Artificial Intelligence team, claims she was fired after criticizing the company’s diversity protocols and management’s attempts to censor critical research of Google products. Before her departure, Gebru told NBC that she repeatedly raised concerns about how women were being mistreated at Google. But when human resources specialists responded to her complaints, they simply encouraged her to seek mental health resources.
“They’re like, ‘Well, if there’s something wrong with you, here are all these therapy resources,” Gebru told the outlet. “And I would answer that no support system is going to eliminate Google’s hostile work environment. I have friends. I’m going to dance. I already have hobbies and therapy. ”
Curley was quietly fired from her role as a diversity recruiter in September. TO Twitter thread Revealing his firing and detailing his experience with blatant racism throughout Google’s corporate culture later went viral. During his six years there, said she sued two managers for allegedly mistreating her and her team and faced a rejection for speaking out, including a $ 20,000 pay cut in 2019 along with a formal warning about her job performance. When he told HR about his concerns, instead of addressing inappropriate behavior from his coworkers, they suggested she takes a medical leave to take care of his mental health, according to NBC.
Nine other current and former Google employees the outlet spoke to said they had similar experiences after reporting the sexual harassment and racist comments to Human Resources. They also received the same suggestion – take a medical leave to treat their mental health – when they raised concerns about alleged retaliation or advocated for equal pay for black and white Google employees. Another 12 current and former Google employees confirmed to NBC that this is common practice in Google’s human resources department.
Of the workers who chose to take medical leave, several said they returned to find they had new managers or had been reassigned to other departments. Since Google links promotions and raises to management performance reviews, these employees said they missed opportunities because their new managers didn’t know them well enough to properly evaluate their performance.
A current employee who spoke to NBC on condition of anonymity said she reported a manager who had dismissed her concerns about Google’s inability to address widespread racial disparities in the workplace. When the employee, a black woman, complained to Human Resources, they suggested that she advise the manager where they went wrong or take medical leave and receive mental health treatment.
“He felt belittling. He wasn’t in shock because he had heard it before. I had seen other leaders of the organization take these mental health licenses and then disappear, “he told the outlet. “It was clear that they were not going to take me seriously.”
Claire Stapleton, a former employee who organized a strike in 2018 To protest how Google handled the sexual assault and harassment allegations, she said she complained about being demoted to Human Resources after the protest and was told to try mindfulness techniques to improve her relationship with her manager. Your other suggestion? You guessed it: to ttake a medical leave to work on your mental health.
Google did not immediately respond to Gizmodo’s request for comment. In a statement to NBC, the company said it is committed to supporting its employees who report abuse in the workplace:
“We have a well-defined process for how employees can raise concerns and we work to be extremely transparent about how we handle complaints. All concerns reported to us are rigorously investigated and we take strong action against employees who violate our policies. “
Google declined to comment on various allegations in NBC’s report, but said the company offers a variety of ways for employees to raise concerns and investigates all reports of retaliation.
“If an employee wants to explore a license or have a workplace, the Google Benefits team will work with the person on the next steps,” a company spokesperson told the outlet.
Google has dumped hundreds of millions of dollars in diversity efforts over the years. But so far, the results have been dismal, by the company’s criteria. diversity reports. (To be fair, your competitors in Silicon Valley I haven’t been getting too hot anyone). Between 2019 and 2020, the percentage of black hires on Google increased by less than 1%, while the percentage of Latino and Native American hires actually decreased. Last month, the company agreed to pay $ 3.8 million to resolve allegations of “systemic compensation and discrimination in hiring” brought by more than 5,000 Asian women and engineers.
Google recently said it is implementing new procedures to handle sensitive employee departures and reviewing its diversity policies, according to Axios. The decision was made after an internal investigation into Gebru’s dismissal, the results of which Google declined to disclose. However, according to these latest allegations, Google has a lot of work to do. May I suggest therapy? Maybe then Google management can manifest some toothy diversity policies.