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

Are white and asian men discriminated against at Google?Are white and asian men discriminated against at Google?

Image: PAU BARRENA/AFP/Getty Images

The Google diversity hiring wars rage on. 

Another former Google employee is suing Google for wrongful termination. This time, the plaintiff is a recruiter — someone who was actually responsible for carrying out Google’s diversity initiatives, and who found them discriminatory.

Arne Wilberg was a recruiter on Google’s technology and engineering hiring team for YouTube. He claims he was let go after criticizing, and refusing to conform to, Google’s hiring mandate to prioritize candidates from traditionally underrepresented groups, and de-prioritize white and Asian men. 

“For several quarters,” the lawsuit reads, “Google would not extend an offer of employment for any applicants for technical positions who were not ‘diverse,’ which Google defined as Women, Blacks, and LatinX.”

Wilberg apparently refused to comply with his boss’s instructions to “purge” applications by non-diverse candidates. The lawsuit also states that he repeatedly spoke out against these initiatives, telling his superiors they were discriminatory and illegal. And according to the lawsuit, these actions resulted in multiple “unsubstantiated” performance reviews, and his eventual firing in November 2017.

The lawsuit also alleges that Google would systematically and regularly instruct its hiring teams to delete emails and any documentation that addressed hiring quotas, in a “transparent effort to wipe out any paper trail of Google’s illegal practices.”

A Google spokesperson provided a statement regarding the lawsuit to Mashable over email. Looks like they are not taking this one lying down.

We will vigorously defend this lawsuit. We have a clear policy to hire candidates based on their merit, not their identity. At the same time, we unapologetically try to find a diverse pool of qualified candidates for open roles, as this helps us hire the best people, improve our culture, and build better products. 

Wilberg’s lawsuit comes barely a week after former Google employee Tim Chevalier filed a lawsuit of his own for wrongful termination and discrimination. Chevalier’s suit says he was fired for practicing too much anti-discrimination activism — on behalf of women, the LGBTQ community, and people of color — in internal Google forums and email lists. He said that calling out “white male privilege” triggered the HR investigation that got him fired.

And, of course, Google is facing yet another discrimination suit from the memo-writer who started it all: James Damore. Damore is heading up a class-action lawsuit against Google, in which he claims to represent any employee who has been discriminated against due to being white, male, or having “unpopular political views.” Damore was fired for writing a memo, circulated in Google’s internal forums, that, among other things, criticized Google’s diversity hiring initiatives, suggesting that women have less preference and aptitude for technology jobs for biological reasons.

At the moment, Google appears to find itself in a diversity hiring lawsuit sandwich: with two lawsuits claiming discrimination against white men, and one seeking legal action for discriminated minority groups. Which might be what’s called a no-win situation.

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