A lawsuit accuses Google of racial bias against Black employees, alleging that it pays them less and denies them opportunities


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  • Google has been accused of systemic bias against Black employees in a lawsuit filed on Friday.
  • The plaintiff alleged the company steers them to lower-level jobs and pays them less.
  • The complaint was filed in federal court in San Jose, California.

Google has been accused of systemic racial bias against Black employees, according to a lawsuit filed in California on Friday by a former employee.

Reuters and other outlets first reported the story.

The plaintiff, April Curley, who is an African American woman, alleged that the tech giant hires few Black employees and steers them to lower-level jobs, pays them less, and denies them advancement and leadership roles because of their race.

The complaint alleged: “Black Google employees face a hostile work environment and suffer retaliation if they dare to challenge or oppose the company’s discriminatory practices.”

As a result, Black employees at Google earn and advance less than non-Black employees and suffer higher rates of attrition, the lawsuit also claimed.

Curley’s lawyer Ben Crump said in a statement to Reuters: “While Google claims that they were looking to increase diversity, they were actually undervaluing, underpaying, and mistreating their Black employees.”

Insider reached out to Curley’s legal representatives but did not immediately receive a response.

It was reported in December that California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing was investigating the way that Google treats Black women workers.

Insider’s Kate Duffy previously reported that Curley had claimed on Twitter she was repeatedly denied promotions, denied leadership opportunities, shouted at, intentionally excluded from meetings and had her compensation cut at Google.

Google did not immediately respond to Insider’s request comment made outside of normal working hours.

Per the allegations made in the her lawsuit, when Curley was hired by Google in 2014, only 1.9% of its employees identified as Black or African American. Over the next two years, Google added five white top-level executives but the African American count remained at one, according to the suit.

The lawsuit alleged: “Pursuant to its racially biased corporate culture, Google segregates its workforce and workplaces, which are permeated by a racially hostile work environment.”

It further alleged that Black professionals and visitors at Google’s main California campus headquarters were routinely harassed and targeted based on their race, often being questioned by security or asked to show identification.

Curley’s lawsuit seeks to recoup compensatory, punitive damages, and lost compensation for current and former Black employees at Google. It also seeks restoration for current and former Black employees to their appropriate positions and seniority.

Ben Crump is a civil rights attorney who represented George Floyd‘s family after he was killed in May 2020 by former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.