A memo recently circulated by a pregnant Google employee alleges that the company discriminated against her for being pregnant, including alleged discrimination by her female manager, herself a mother.
VICE News reports that a new memo has been seen by 10,000 employees at Google which alleges that the firm discriminated against a pregnant employee solely for being pregnant. The memo is titled “I’m Not Returning to Google After Maternity Leave, and Here is Why,” and was posted to an internal company messaging board for expecting mothers.
The memo was then reposted to other message boards and quickly went viral within the company. In the memo, the female employee writes:
I’m sharing this statement because I hope it informs needed change in how Google handles discrimination, harassment and retaliation. This is a long read, but the details are important in understanding the often drawn-out, isolating and painful experience of victims of discrimination, harassment and retaliation. Also, if anything similar has happened to you, know that you’re not alone.
In response to the memo, one employee wrote: “WOW. I can’t wait till absolutely nothing changes as a result. She deserves better than this continued train-wreck.” In the 2,300 word memo, the employee alleges that her manager made discriminatory remarks about pregnant women, and when reported to HR she received retaliation.
The memo reads:
I documented what my boss was saying and reached out to HR to ask for help in navigating the situation. It was shared that others had reported my manager behaving inappropriately and that feedback had already been given to her. I was told my comments might be shared directly with my boss, but not to worry because strong measures are in place at Google to prevent retaliation. Almost immediately upon my discussions with HR, my manager’s demeanor towards me changed, and drastically. I endured months of angry chats and emails, vetoed projects, her ignoring me during in-person encounters, and public shaming.
The employee who was also a manager joined another team but was not allowed to manage anyone on the team until she returned from maternity leave. The employee alleges that she was told her maternity leave might “stress the team” and “rock the boat.” During the pregnancy, the employee faced medical complications and was forced to take maternity leave earlier than expected:
During one conversation with my new manager in which I reiterated an early leave and upcoming bedrest, she told me that she had just listened to an NPR segment that debunked the benefits of bedrest. She also shared that her doctor had ordered her to take bedrest, but that she ignored the order and worked up until the day before she delivered her son via cesarean section. My manager then emphasized in this same meeting that a management role was no longer guaranteed upon my return from maternity leave, and that she supported my interviewing for other roles at Google.
When asked for comment on the issue, Google told VICE: “We prohibit retaliation in the workplace and publicly share our very clear policy. To make sure that no complaint raised goes unheard at Google, we give employees multiple channels to report concerns, including anonymously, and investigate all allegations of retaliation.”
One former Google employee commented on the memo stating: “This is alarming. And sadly not surprising. It fits a long-standing pattern at the company. Google has a culture of retaliation that is reflected in its abysmal diversity numbers. The pipeline isn’t the problem: the racist, misogynist culture that penalizes those who speak up is.”
Google has faced a number of protests and complaints from employees recently, in November 2018 there was a mass walkout at the firms Mountain View HQ over the company’s alleged protection of sexual harassers. It was alleged in January by shareholders that the company attempted to cover up sexual misconduct at the company.