IT industry is one of many male-dominant industries. And that goes without saying that being a woman to work in that industry is not just challenging but also problematic. Take it from the case from Google.
Last month, a female software engineer who previously worked at Google had sued the company for failure to protect her from sexual harassment. Loretta Lee accused the tech-giant of creating a “bro culture” which got her slapped, had her drink spiked and groped by her breasts. She was fired by the company in February 2016 due to “poor performance”.
According to the lawsuit, it stated that “Google’s bro-culture contributed to [Lee’s] suffering frequent sexual harassment and gender discrimination, for which Google failed to take corrective action.” The case was filed to the Santa Clara County Superior Court.
Lee started working for Google in 2008 at their Los Angeles campus and later switched to the firm’s Mountain View campus. She claimed that the working environment she experienced at the company for eight years was ‘severe and pervasive’ every day.
For illustration only. Source: Facebook
The lawsuit detailed incidents of a co-worker requesting a “horizontal hug” via a text message, as well as an event where her male colleague spiked her drinks with whiskey. She also allegedly stated that her former male colleagues often abused her by making lewd comments, ogling at her constantly and shooting Berf balls and darts at her almost every day. One time, a male colleague showed up to her apartment with alcohol unannounced while on another occasion, she was slapped by an intoxicated male colleague for no apparent reason during a holiday party.
If those seem mild to you, Lee also asserted that there was an incident where a co-worker popped up from underneath Lee’s desk one night and told her ‘she’d never know what he’d been doing down there’. She said that the episode had left her intimidated as she feared that he may have left a camera installed underneath her desk to spy on her.
Most appallingly, Lee claimed that a male colleague once grabbed her lanyard she was wearing by her neck and asked for her name. She alleged that the man proceeded to reach his hands forward and groped her breasts.
Her superior told her to file an official complaint against the man who had groped her but she said she was afraid of being an ‘informer’. Thus, she stayed silent on the issue.
When she was written up for being uncooperative in a complaint, it left her no choice but to reveal the ordeal she had endured over the years. However, the human resource of Google said that her claims were ‘unsubstantial’, therefore did nothing to help her from the sexually harassive environment.
Overwhelmed by the toxic working culture, she was fired in 2016 for “underperformance”.
Lee is seeking an undisclosed amount in excess of $25,000 for the company’s failure to prevent sexual harassment, gender discrimination, disability discrimination, wrongful termination and retaliation.
In a report by Daily Mail, a Google spokesperson told the news portal that: “We have strong policies against harassment in the workplace and review every complaint we receive.
“We take action when we find violations, including termination of employment.”
Daily Mail also reported that it wasn’t the first time Google has been involved in such case. Last year, the company fired former engineer James Damore after he circulated a controversial memo stating there was a biological explanation to why women were paid less. The US Department of Labor and another former employee also accused the tech-giant is paying lesser to women in several occasion last year.
Something you wouldn’t expect from Google, right? What are your thoughts on this? Let us know in the comments below.