Several current and former Google employees say that the company’s human resources department will often offer advice or mental health because of complaints about racist or sexist behavior in the workplace, NBC News report.
The workers described encounters with colleagues that included racist remarks about skin color and hairstyles as well as sexual harassment. When they contacted Google’s human resources department, everyone was encouraged to take mental health leave, even if their complaints were not related to mental health issues, according to NBC.
The report follows the dismissal of Google AI ethics researcher Timnit Gebru in December, which rejects a driver’s request to withdraw an article addressing the dangers of language models such as those Google relies on to power its search engine. Brubru has a Email to the Brain Women and Allies listserv describes her frustration with the newspaper, citing her doubts about Google’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. She says Google told her the email was “contrary to the expectations of a Google administrator.” Google’s head of AI claims that Gebru resigned, which she strongly disputed.
And April Christina Curley, a Black woman who worked as a diversity recruiter for Google, said she was fired in September after being denied promotions and getting her pay cut, despite her strong work performance and her successful recruitment of hundreds of students from historic black colleges and universities at Google’s engineering department. Curley tells NBC she was also encouraged to take leave for mental health.
Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Sunday, but a spokesman said NBC News that “all concerns reported to us are carefully investigated, and we take action against employees who violate our policies.”