Sunday, 16 December, 2018

Silicon Valley's White Male Panic Takes Root at Google

Image source Neon Tommy via Flickr Image source Neon Tommy via Flickr
Lori Graves | 04 March, 2018, 01:46

A former YouTube employee has filed a discrimination suit against the world's largest video site, alleging that its policy was to hire zero white or Asian men for tech positions. According to Wilberg, Google seems to prioritize diversity in its workforce over competence, alleging that he was sacked as a result of his complaints to managers in which he states the company's "illegal and discriminatory hiring practices", pointing to management deleting emails that held content regarding various supposedly clandestine hiring choices.

"We have a clear policy to hire candidates based on their merit, not their identity", a Google spokesperson said to The Wall Street Journal.

Google is certainly facing the heat to diversify its workforce and reform its mostly white-and-Asian male workforce to constitute more women and people of color.

In January, James Damore, the engineer who was sacked after writing a screed against Google's diversity efforts, filed a lawsuit alleging discrimination against white people, men, and political conservatives.

After Damore was terminated, he and another white engineer filed a discrimination lawsuit against his former employer.

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Wilberg's suit, filed January 29, states that he worked for seven years at Google, including time on the team for tech staffing at YouTube, the company's video-streaming unit. Google and many other technology giants started publicly sharing data on racial and gender diversity in 2014 and have faced pressure to increase the percentage of their workforce that isn't white or Asian men. In March 2017, a YouTube staffing manager emailed recruiters and told them, "Please continue with L3 [level three] candidates in process and only accept new L3 candidates that are from historically underrepresented groups".

The conflagration briefly engulfed Google's own offices, turning the workspace into a polarized war zone.

The hiring practices challenged in the lawsuit fall into a controversial area of labor law, where setting goals to diversify is acceptable, but setting quotas is not. The company is now facing a Federal complaint filed by the National Labor Relations Board in April for interfering with employees' legal right to discuss "workplace diversity and social justice initiatives.' The complaint alleges that Senior Vice President Urs Holzle and numerous managers in his organization actively stoked up witch hunts in 2015 and 2016 meant to muzzle low-level employees who raised concerns about the company's practices". While Damore fits those descriptions, the lawsuit was also filed on behalf of women and people of color who it's claimed Google mistreated on the basis of one or any combination of those categories.

Google is YouTube's parent company. This time, the plaintiff is a recruiter - someone who was actually responsible for carrying out Google's diversity initiatives, and who found them discriminatory.

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