Fired Google Engineer Says He was Fired for Speaking Out

image_pdfimage_print

Mark Angelo, CEO, Yorkville Advisors

Google is in the headlines again, and not for reasons the company would like to be. A former Google engineer is suing Google, alleging that he was fired because he chose to speak out about “racism, sexism, and harassment.”

Tim Chevalier claims he was wrongfully terminated as retaliation for his disclosures and for complaining that Google was not doing enough to stop discrimination and harassment at the company.

Fired Google Engineer Says He was Fired for Speaking OutThis lawsuit reignites the ongoing debate about the role Silicon Valley companies are playing in addressing race and gender inequality in the tech industry. Google, for its part, has admitted some struggles in the past and says they are trying to get past them. Lawsuits like this bring those efforts – or what some are calling “failures” – back into the light.

Chevalier, who identifies as both disabled and transgender, says Google’s very culture is fraught with discrimination. The former engineer says employees frequently belittle and bully women, people of color and LGBTQ people. According to reports about the lawsuit:

“Chevalier pushed back on the online bullying he and others were experiencing, using the same internal messaging systems to try to educate his employer and coworkers on how to change Google’s working conditions to be inclusive and supportive of underrepresented minorities, such as himself…”

Google claims the company terminated Chevalier’s employment because of his perpetual, political social media posting that reflected poorly on the company. Chevalier dismissed this claim: “It is a cruel irony that Google attempted to justify firing me by claiming that my social networking posts showed bias against my harassers… The anti-discrimination laws are meant to protect marginalized and underrepresented groups — not those who attack them…”

Google, however, says the former engineer knew full well his postings were out of bounds. Google spokeswoman Gina Scigliano told the media: “All employees acknowledge our code of conduct and other workplace policies, under which promoting harmful stereotypes based on race or gender is prohibited… This is a very standard expectation that most employers have of their employees. The overwhelming majority of our employees communicate in a way that is consistent with our policies. But when an employee does not, it is something we must take seriously. We always make our decision without any regard to the employee’s political views…”

But the company says Chevalier continuously crossed the line until they had no choice but to let him go. The case is headed to the courts, but first, it will play out for a larger audience in the court of public opinion… and people are already lining up on both sides.

 

 

Leave a Comment