Black former employees sue Google for racial discrimination

April Curley alleges she was terminated after she spoke out.

March 22, 2022, 7:48 PM

Civil rights attorney Ben Crump filed a racial discrimination lawsuit against Google this week claiming there has been a pattern of racial discrimination toward minority employees.

"Former Google employees came for their dream job that turned into a nightmare because of bigoted, discriminatory, racist culture that exists within Google," Crump said at a press conference Monday.

The lawsuit, which alleges a pattern and practice of racial discrimination, was filed on behalf of April Curley and other former and current Black employees at Google. Curley said she was unlawfully terminated from her position after she told managers she was creating a report on Google’s "discriminatory" practices, a press release stated.

"These women tried to sound the alarm," Crump said, later adding that the company "retaliated against these victims of the racist culture that exists in Google."

ABC News has reached out to Google for comment on the lawsuit.

Signage is displayed in front of a building on the Google campus in Mountain View, Calif., Oct. 21, 2020.
David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images, FILE

Curley worked at Google as a diversity recruiter for six years to recruit prospects from historically Black colleges and universities. She said she was hired at an entry level position even though she held a master's degree and had five years of experience.

"April Curley was an exceptional employee at Google. She was hired to a position well below her qualifications and was consistently wrongfully passed over for promotions," Crump alleged. “While Google claims that they were looking to increase diversity, they were actually undervaluing, underpaying and mistreating their Black employees, leading to high turnover."

Curley said she was able to recruit more than 500 Black students to become a part of the company. But ultimately, she alleges, she began noticing "white dominant policies in practice within Google."

Crump and law firm Stowell & Friedman, Ltd. alleged in a press release that Black employees at Google are "steered toward lower-level roles with less pay and fewer opportunities for advancement" and face a hostile working environment and retaliation if they "oppose the company’s discriminatory practices."

"After dedicating so much of my life to ensure Black and brown students had access to opportunities in tech, and at Google, after being restrained to an entry level classification for six years, after being blocked for promotion because, I quote, 'Google had no budget to pay me,' Google decided that right next step in my career was to unjustly terminate me," Curley said at the press conference.

Google has not commented publicly on Curley's termination.

According to Google's annual diversity report published in 2021, the company said they "recognize" a need to do better.

"We recognize our responsibility to meet this moment and believe the greatest contribution we can make to changing these structural inequities is sustained action within our company, our communities and the world," the report stated.

Crump and his team are pursuing a class action suit. The lawsuit filed by the firm requests that employees get their positions back and be awarded the full compensation and benefits that they not only lost but may also lose in the future.

"Google, we are here to encourage you to do the right thing," Crump said.

Crump said investigations have been opened by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing and the California Assembly. ABC News has reached out to both for comment.

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