California’s civil rights regulator is investigating Google’s treatment of Black female workers following several alleged incidents of harassment and discrimination.
According to Reuters, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) have interviewed several current and former Black female Google employees who have worked at the tech giant about their experiences.
The interviews have focused on harassment and discrimination in the workplace. Earlier this year, Timnit Gebru, a former Google research assistant, resigned following the firing of two people who questioned the company’s diversity practices claiming racism and sexism.
Gebru’s firing led to an HBCU recruiting firm terminating its partnership with Google as a result. That prompted Google CEO Sundar Pichai to meet virtually with the presidents of five HBCUs to clear the air.
Black females interviewed by the DFEH include those who made formal complaints and those who have not. Black women are joining the tech industry in larger numbers than ever before, but the ones that end up at Google tend not to stay long.
In July, Reuters reported that Black and Latino women have left the tech giant at higher rates in 2020 than the year before.
Google isn’t the only large tech company dealing with issues concerning its Black employees. A Vox report detailed Black Amazon employees who said they were promoted less frequently and treated more harshly than non-Black peers.
Making things worse is that many of these reports and allegations came amid the 2020 Black Lives Matter movement, when Google and Amazon both made pledges towards racial equity and increasing the number of Black employees.
Google responded to the investigation, saying it’s focused on “building sustainable equity” for its Black workers and 2020 was its largest year for hiring Black workers.
“Our goal is to ensure that every employee experiences Google as an inclusive workplace,” Google told Reuters. “We’ll continue to focus on this important work and thoroughly investigate any concerns, to make sure our workplace is representative and equitable.”