The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing is investigating Google’s treatment of Black women.
According to a report from Reuters, the DFEH has interviewed numerous Black women who have worked for Google’s parent firm Alphabet.
Google has faced backlash for reportedly telling Black employees who made claims of sexism and racism to take mental health leave.
The company also allegedly fired AI researcher Timnit Gebru, who is Black, for calling them out over the lack of diversity. At the time, Sherrilyn Ifill, president of the NAACP‘s Legal Defense and Educational Fund, called Gebru’s firing “absolutely infuriating” and “a disaster.”
In 2021 alone, seven Black women said that they weren’t taken as seriously as coworkers of other identities, per Reuters. They also contend that they were marginalized on projects. One of the sources told Reuters at least one interview happened as recently as last month.
“Our goal is to ensure that every employee experiences Google as an inclusive workplace,” Google said when contacted by Reuters, adding: “We’ll continue to focus on this important work and thoroughly investigate any concerns, to make sure our workplace is representative and equitable.”
Google also wants people to know that 2020 was its largest year for hiring “Black+” workers, a designation inclusive of people belonging to numerous races.
According to a report released this summer by the publication, only 1.8% of Google employees are Black women. IGoogle wrote that there was “room for improvement” in its own report.
Black women also leave the company at high rates.
In October, CEO Sundar Pichai said the company planned to double the number of Black employees by 2025 and increase the number of underrepresented workers in senior positions by 30% by 2025. “We’ll hold ourselves accountable for creating an inclusive workplace,” Pichai wrote in a blog post.