One of California’s most iconic tech firms is feeling the heat after a former employee distributed an internal memo that read like a manifesto for gender discrimination. Search engine giant Google moved quickly to terminate the employment of the software engineer responsible for the memo, which claimed that women are biologically unsuited to jobs in the tech world. However, recent reports suggest that this employee may only be the tip of the workplace discrimination iceberg.
An investigative report published in mid-August interviewed former Google employees who complained about having endured an atmosphere of sexism, racism and gender inequality. One of the former employees, a young Asian-American woman, explained that she found very few opportunities for advancement in Google, where executives and senior managers are mostly Caucasian males.
The woman added that she was exposed to racist comments, particularly from co-workers who joked that she must have gotten her job because managers believed her Asian ethnicity suggested strong math skills. An African American woman who used to work for Google mentioned that she felt uncomfortable when security guards constantly asked to see her employee badge, something they did not do for her white colleagues.
The current backlash against Google is bound to get stronger in the near future. Sex discrimination and sexual harassment in the workplace are prohibited under the federal laws and rules enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Surreptitious glass ceilings and offensive sexual comments at the office also run afoul of California’s civil rights statutes. Those who are victims of such workplace discrimination may want to get legal assistance from a lawyer.