A former Google employee who was tasked with hiring more Black people to the company, and who was herself fired in 2020, has filed suit against Google/Alphabet claiming she was retaliated against for calling out discriminatory practices at the company.
According to the suit, filed in federal court in San Jose on Friday, April Curley went to work for Google in 2014, hired as an entry level diversity recruiter tasked with recruiting talent from historically Black colleges and universities. As KTVU reports, Curley says that after she began speaking out within the company about the "barriers and double standards Google imposed on Black employees and applicants," she was fired in 2020.
Curley's suit says there was a "pattern and practice" at Google of steering Black applicants to lower-level, lower-paid jobs at the company. The suit is seeking punitive and compensatory damages, and class-action status for both Curley and other Black former employees of the company.
"Google chose to ignore and ultimately attack Black employees brave enough to speak up about Google's embedded racism that actively harmed Black employees on a daily basis," Curley said in a statement. And Curley says that she and others were "pigeon-holed into dead-end jobs" at the company as well, as the Associated Press notes.
And citing Google's famous internal adjective for its Googlers, the suit claims that managers at the company regularly passed over Black candidates as "not ‘Googly’ enough," which the suit says is "a plain dog whistle for race discrimination."
Google/Alphabet has so far not publicly responded to the suit.
An attorney for Curley, Ben Crump, says in a statement to ABC 7, "April Curley was an exceptional employee at Google. She was hired to a position well below her qualifications and was consistently wrongfully passed over for promotions. While Google claims that they were looking to increase diversity, they were actually undervaluing, underpaying, and mistreating their Black employees, leading to high turnover. We will not stop until we get justice for Curley and other Black employees at Google, and until we see real change in this company's culture."
Google has been hit with other discrimination lawsuits in the past, including one in 2017 from three female employees who similarly claimed that they were “segregated” into lower-paying career tracks at the company. The Department of Labor filed suit against the company also, regarding pay disparities among Asian and female employees, and that case was settled last year with the company agreeing to pay out more than $1.3 million in back pay and interest to 2,565 female employees, and another $1.2 million to Asian and female applicants who were not hired.
Photo: Mitchell Luo