A former recruiter for Google-owned YouTube claims the company ruled out hiring any white or Asian males for technical jobs in its diversity push and fired him when he complained internally about the process. The former employee, Arne Wilberg, set forth these allegations in a lawsuit filed in San Mateo County, California, Superior Court. Wilberg, 40, worked for YouTube for a total of nine years,
The Wall Street Journal summarized the allegations against the Silicon Valley tech giant.
"The lawsuit…alleges the division of Alphabet Inc.'s Google set quotas for hiring minorities. Last spring, YouTube recruiters were allegedly instructed to cancel interviews with applicants who weren't female, black or Hispanic, and to 'purge entirely' the applications of people who didn't fit those categories, the lawsuit claims...People familiar with YouTube's and Google's hiring practices in interviews corroborated some of the lawsuit's allegations, including the hiring freeze of white and Asian technical employees, and YouTube's use of quotas."Wilberg also claims he was a victim of racial and gender discrimination and subject to workplace retaliation after he complained up through the Google chain of command about the alleged quota hiring.
Employment discrimination is illegal under Title VII of the U.S. Civil Rights Act and its companion state laws.
In response to the lawsuit, which the company plans to defend against vigorously, a Google spokeswoman told Bloomberg Technology that the company hires only on the basis of merit, but at the same time seeks a diverse pool of qualified candidates.The same company is also facing a lawsuit from fired software engineer James Damore, the author of the controversial 10-page memo called "Google's Ideological Echo Chamber" that challenged the company's cosmetic diversity policies and politically correct atmosphere. At the risk of oversimplification, the memo, which led to his August, 2017, termination, argued that biological differences between men and women, in part, explain why tech is more of a male-dominated field. In the lawsuit filed in January, Damore claimed that Google discriminates against men, caucasians, and those who are perceived as harboring politically conservative views. Similar to the new lawsuit, Damore alleged that Google engages in a quota system to increase the number of female and minorities in its employ. Those who don't go along with the social justice viewpoint are subject to bullying inside the company, the Damore lawsuit additionally implied.
Conservatives and others have accused Google and YouTube, along with other big Silicon Valley entities such as Twitter and Facebook, of allegedly shutting down right-wing channels and individuals for hate speech but not applying the same scrutiny to those on the left. That said, thought leaders across the ideological spectrum, including Democratic Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, have advocated for regulating Google and Facebook like public utilities given the magnitude of their influence.