Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

Management Training Lessons from Google’s Lawsuits

This year, Google has received a lot of bad publicity for being the defendant in a series of lawsuits. The international company is facing multiple lawsuits from its own employees.

The lawsuits have been filed by employees in Silicon Valley in the United States. However, implications of them are clear for employers in other jurisdictions as well, including United Kingdom.

Managers at all companies should pay close attention to the developments at Google and implement managerial training policies to avoid facing similar lawsuits.

Overview of the lawsuits at Google

Curtis Bailey, the CEO of Tradify, says that managers should familiarize themselves with the ongoing employee lawsuits at Google. Here is a brief overview of them.

Sexual harassment allegations

Lorreta Lee was an engineer at Google for nearly a decade. She claims that she faced ongoing harassment while working at the company, which included non-consensual touching and inappropriate comments. Lee attributed the harassment to the “bro culture” at Google and filed a lawsuit in March.

Wage discrimination lawsuit

A number of female employees at Google have accused the company of wage discrimination. Google is concurrently defending itself against discrimination lawsuits by their employees and the United States Department of Justice. The Department of Justice has requested wage data from Google to verify the authenticity of these claims.

Google claims that its own which data indicates that female employees are paid nearly identical incomes to male counterparts after accounting for hours worked, years of experience, job title, education and other factors. However, these claims do not reconcile with evidence submitted by several female employees. Female employees working in the daycare center at google have shown that they received less compensation then their male colleagues, despite the fact that they had higher level degrees and more experience. There is a good chance that these female employees and the United States Department of Justice may meet the preponderance of evidence standard necessary to win a wage discrimination lawsuit.

Allegations of discrimination against conservatives and white men

Last summer, former engineer James Damore published a memo about some controversial gender issues facing Google. Damore stated that some biological factors, such as increased likelihood for neuroticism and higher levels of empathy played a role in the challenges female engineers face. He also argued against gender hiring quotas.

Damore was fired for his statements shortly thereafter. In January, the former engineer initiated a class-action lawsuit against Google. He claimed that the company openly discriminated against Caucasian males and conservatives. He attached screenshots of statements made by Google managers to support his claims. Several other employees have joined his lawsuit, including a fired Hispanic employee that claims he was fired for his conservative beliefs.

Recruiter allegations of racial and gender discrimination

James Damore isn’t the only white man suing Google for allegations of discrimination. Earlier this year, a former recruiter claimed that Google instructed recruiters to dismiss applications of white and Asian men with less than five years of experience. He attached a screenshot of an email from his supervisor, which appears to corroborate his claim.

Training your managerial team to avoid Google’s mistakes

There is a good chance that Google will lose at least one of these lawsuits. Even if they win all of them, the lawsuits themselves may have created a reparable damage to company morale. Google is being sued by employees of all genders, ethnic cities and political views. Here are some lessons that human resources officials at other companies can learn from an autopsy of Google’s mistakes.

Provide even more regress sexual harassment training in male dominated departments and workplaces

Sexual harassment has been a serious problem in the workplace for decades. Despite all of the attention that has been brought to the issue, it continues to haunt many employers. This is clearly true even in progressive workplace cultures like Google. This tends to be a bigger issue in workplaces that are predominantly male. These workplaces need more rigorous sexual harassment preventing training. It should be focused specifically on their industry, so the members recognize the relevance to them.

Put a damper on discussing sensitive and political issues

Google is being sued by people on both sides of their company for expressing bias against employees or not giving them an equal opportunity to voice their views. This is the inevitable consequence of a company that encourages open discussion on sensitive issues, especially politics. Other companies can avoid this issue by prohibiting them from using the company intranet or board rooms to discuss these types of issues.