Fired Google Engineer Sues, Alleging Discrimination and Harassment

Tim Chevalier, a software developer and former site-reliability engineer at Google, has claimed that Google fired him when he responded with internal posts and memes to racist encounters within the company and the general response to the now-infamous James Damore memo.

Some Google employees told USA Today, in January 2018, that the company was not doing enough to support and protect them from a "harassment campaign" - which targetted them as the objects of hateful comments and aggressive threats. Instead, the company took action when such employees spoke out about their experiences with racism, sexism and homophobia at work, alleged Chevalier, who is transgender, queer and disabled.

Google's internal forums have reportedly been a lightning rod for prejudiced debates, including one user believing that "if we have fewer Black and Latin@ people here, doesn't that mean they're not as good?" News of the lawsuit was earlier reported by Gizmodo. "But like any workplace, that doesn't mean anything goes", a spokeswoman, Gina Scigliano, said.

The present episode has links to last year's internal memo by James Damore - another Google employee who was sacked by the search giant - that spoke about gender bias at Google. While Google is already facing a lawsuit filed by Damore, this will be another in the series. "All employees acknowledge our code of conduct and other workplace policies, under which promoting harmful stereotypes based on race or gender is prohibited".

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Not long after, when Chevalier's newly-assigned manager, Peter Dahl, criticized his subordinate for "too much 'social activism, '" despite the fact that Chevalier was rewarded with multiple "peer bonuses" for his internal commentary. The lawsuit he filed, in San Francisco Superior Court, claims he ran afoul of the company for standing up for women, people of color, the disabled, and LGBTQ employees, according to USA Today.

Chevalier's lawsuit says that when he began at Google in 2015, Google's workforce was largely "homogenous", composed "overwhelmingly" of cisgender white men - and that "its workplace culture reflected their views".

On Wednesday, another ex-employee, Tim Chevalier filed a complaint against the company for dismissing him for posting a political view than others including criticism of Damore. "Company social networking forums can be incredibly useful, but employers have an obligation to prevent them from becoming a cesspool of bullying and harassment", Lowe said in a press release. A Chevalier-related Twitter account posted a screenshot of the employees' Twitter profiles, all of whom were of colour, women, or trans men.

Interestingly, Chevalier's posts had been quoted extensive in Damore's lawsuit against Google. These profiles then became targets of online harassment, some of which Chevalier details in his complaint.

  • Delia Davidson