Google has been in the news a lot lately, and not for the right reasons. One woman recently posted a 2,300-word explanation of why she would not return to the company after her maternity leave ended. Although the content of the post is explosive enough, it’s where she decided to make her accusations that mattered: an internal company message board. At least 10,000 Google employees have already read the post, some of them responding with funny memes and jokes.
Last year Google was accused of covering up yet another bout of sexual harassment and misconduct, and the employees who made the allegations say they were mistreated afterward. This type of workplace retaliation is hardly unheard of at big companies, but Google has a greater pool of resources and more contemporary policies than most. Why can’t the company reign in this type of predatory behavior?
For now, the woman who made the recent string of allegations against Google has chosen to remain anonymous.
Her post said: “I’m sharing this statement because I hope it informs needed change in how Google handles discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. This is a long read, but the details are important in understanding the often drawn-out, isolating, and painful experience of victims of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. Also, if anything similar has happened to you, know that you’re not alone.”
According to her post, the manager for which she worked had been making nasty comments about another employee’s pregnancy. When she approached the human resources department to try to work things out, the manager immediately and openly targeted her with demeaning comments, many of which were made as part of a quest to publically shame her.
She became pregnant herself only after she transferred to a different team, but she was diagnosed with a dangerous and “life-threatening” condition that could leave both her and her unborn daughter dead. Upon sharing this information with her current manager, she was told “that a management role was no longer guaranteed upon [her] return from maternity leave and that” she could interview for other jobs within the company.
The woman approached HR for a second time and found no help there.
Another anonymous person who once worked for the tech giant said, “The pipeline isn’t the problem: The racist, misogynist culture that penalizes those who speak up is.”
So far Google has implemented few if any, policy changes that might remedy the situation. In fact, the company’s policy already reflects how its employees should act under the aforementioned scenarios – but not how they do act.