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Former recruiter sues Google, says white and Asian candidates were 'purged'

04 March, 2018, 01:50 | Author: Lydia Fleming
  • Cyclist rides past Google sign

According to claims made in a lawsuit filed by a former recruiter for Google's YouTube video site, the company instructed staff to stop hiring white and Asian men past year in an attempt to improve corporate diversity.

"For the past several years, Google has had and implemented clear and irrefutable policies, memorialized in writing and consistently implemented in practice, of systematically discriminating in favor job applicants who are Hispanic, African American, or female, and against Caucasian and Asian men", the lawsuit says.

Filed in San Mateo Superior Court, California in late January, the lawsuit hasn't come to light until now and explains that former employee, named Arne Wilberg - described as a 40-year-old white man by The Wall Street Journal - worked as a recruiter for YouTube for seven years.

"We have a clear policy to hire candidates based on their merit, not their identity", the company said in a statement.

Sources with knowledge of YouTube and Google's hiring practices "corroborated some of the lawsuit's allegations, including the hiring freeze of white and Asian technical employees, and YouTube's use of quotas", according to the Journal.

The National Labor Relations Board's general counsel would later rule that Google had not violated the law when it fired him, causing Damore to withdraw the complaint he filed with the agency.

Wilberg has alleged that in 2016 and 2017, he and his fellow recruiters were told on several occasions to approve or dismiss job candidates based exclusively on whether they were women, black or Latino. Wilberg also alleged that late a year ago, management deleted emails and other digital records of diversity requirements. Exhibits in the complaint include a screenshot of an internal document where recruiters tracked diversity goals for women and minorities, as well as two emails where a hiring manager instructed the recruiting team to "only consider" candidates from "historically underrepresented groups".

Google has been stung by a number of lawsuits recently.

Arne Wilberg worked at Google for almost a decade. In the meantime, Google has to walk a narrow line: How can the company signal the urgency of being inclusive without setting targets? 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".

It is not the first time the company is criticized over its diversity practices. It's alleged the company instigated a policy to further workforce diversity.



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