Google employees still face retaliation against for reporting harassment

Google fires second AI ethics leader as dispute over research, diversity grows
Reuters | Google employee Alex Hanna said on Twitter the company was running a “smear campaign” against Mitchell and Gebru, with whom she worked closely.

Dozens of Google employees allege they were retaliated against after filing complaints with human resources, with many of the cases being complaints of sexual harassment or discrimination.

In an internal document obtained by Recode, 45 employees say they were demoted, pushed out or placed on less desirable projects after they filed complaints with human resources. Employees told Recode that Google continues to conceal, rather than address, issues ranging from sexual harassment to security.

One employee in the document reportedly writes that they received a “veiled threat” from HR suggesting their immigration status might be at risk should they continue to pursue their complaint about “something unethical happening at Google,” Recode reports.

A spokesperson for Google said the company is aware of the document but declined to comment on it or any specific cases of alleged retaliation.

“Reporting misconduct takes courage and we want to provide care and support to people who raise concerns. All instances of inappropriate conduct reported to us are investigated rigorously, and over the past year, we have simplified how employees can raise concerns and provided more transparency into the investigations process at Google. We work to be extremely transparent about how we handle complaints and the action we take.” – Google’s VP of People Operations Eileen Naughton said to Recode”

This report comes after two Google employees who organized a walkout in protest of the company’s handling of sexual harassment complaints alleged they faced retaliation as a result.

“In general, there’s a culture at Google where people were afraid to talk to HR — and in many cases for good reason,” Liz Fong-Jones, a former Google engineer and activist on internal company issues who said she faced retaliation for her activism, told Recode.

Recode‘s findings are consistent with the reports that have come out over the last year. But a document with dozens of employees claiming they’ve faced retaliation makes the handful of high-profile situations from last year appear to be part of a much bigger issue.


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