Google is reportedly being sued by a former recruiter who claims he was dismissed for not rejecting white and Asian male job applicants. According to his lawsuit filed last month in San Mateo County, Google set hiring quotas and, at one point in 2017, explicitly informed recruiters to strictly hire "diverse" candidates. "We have a clear policy to hire candidates based on their merit, not their identity", a Google spokesperson told RT.com, adding that the company is unapologetic about hiring a wide group of qualified candidates as it helps the tech giant "build better products".
According to Wilberg's lawsuit, Google's human-resources department began investigating YouTube's hiring practices in the spring of 2016. Wilberg stated that past year and in 2016, he and other recruiters were told to approve or dismiss candidates based exclusively on whether they were women, black or Latino.
Wilberg alleges that several employees complained to Google about the company's hiring policies, but were either ignored, transferred, or demoted.
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According to the lawsuit, Wilberg's attempt to raise the issue of quotas did not go unnoticed.
The complaint contends that in response to Wilberg's efforts to challenge the diversity scheme, Google "on occasion would circulate emails instructing its employees purge any and all references to the race/ gender quotas from its e-mail database in a transparent effort to wipe out any paper trail of Google's illegal practices".
California labor law prohibits employers from making job decisions based on characteristics like race or gender. When Wilberg did not adhere to those rules, his performance reviews suffered, he alleges. Following the Damore incident, Google CEO Sundar Pichai stated that he has no regrets over firing Damore, but said he is sad about the perception of people who "misunderstand that we may have made this for a political belief one way or another".
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Indeed, Wilberg's claim of discrimination against majority groups mimics the culture war around diversity being waged inside Google, where employees advocating for increased diversity have been reprimanded for offending white men. Many have adopted policies and programs created to encourage more balanced hiring, not only to right past discrimination but for their own economic advantage: According to management consultancy McKinsey, diverse companies deliver better financial results.
The lawsuit suggests that some of Google's efforts were clumsy, and may have been counterproductive.
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The company also "had a practice of systematically discriminating against older engineers in its hiring practices", the suit says.