A former Google manager's internal memo accusing the company of discriminating against pregnant women has been obtained and published by Motherboard.
While the media outlet said it had verified the authenticity of the memo written by an unnamed employee, Google has yet to comment on the leak.
The 2,300 word letter "I’m Not Returning to Google After Maternity Leave, and Here is Why" by the unnamed female employee was originally posted on an internal Google message board.
The woman stated she would leave Google after completion of her maternity leave, citing the company's deplorable “toxic” culture towards new and expecting mothers.
“I’m sharing this statement because I hope it informs needed change in how Google handles discrimination, harassment and retaliation. This is a long read, but the details are important in understanding the often drawn-out, isolating and painful experience of victims of discrimination, harassment and retaliation. Also, if anything similar has happened to you, know that you’re not alone,” the woman wrote in her memo.
The whistleblower claimed she was promoted to her management position more than a year ago by a fellow female Google manager who later made “inappropriate comments” about another expecting female colleague.
The memo author said her female boss noted that the subordinate “was likely pregnant again and was overly emotional and hard to work with when pregnant”.
The whistleblower also stated the above-mentioned female supervisor discussed this person's pregnancy-related health struggles and bemoaned the difficulty of working with such employees after they disclose their pregnancy because “you can't touch” them.
After reporting this inappropriate conduct to human resources, the author of the memo was informed that others had complained about the same manager. Although she was warned her comments might be shared with her boss, she was told not to worry as Google had measures in place to safeguard staff against retaliation.
Nonetheless, the unnamed whistleblower revealed how her superior’s attitude towards her altered dramatically after her interaction with HR.
“I endured months of angry chats and emails, vetoed projects, her ignoring me during in-person encounters, and public shaming,” the memo's author wrote.
“The final blow was finding out my manager was sharing reputation-damaging remarks with other more senior Googlers... and actively interviewing candidates to replace me. I needed to remove myself from the abusive environment and thus accepted a management role on another team.”
The anonymous author went on to say she was concerned the undue stress could negatively impact her pregnancy.
After being re-assigned, the new boss told the expectant mum she wouldn't start leading her new team until after maternity leave. According to the memo's author, the new superior expressed fears the maternity leave could “stress the team” and “rock the boat”.
According to the woman, subsequently Google HR claimed its investigators had failed to find any evidence of discrimination.
While declining to comment on the female manager's allegations, Google made an emailed statement to the effect that the company's rules explicitly ban workplace retaliation.
The current discrimination allegations come nine months after thousands of Google staff workers around the world staged walkouts over the handling of a sexual harassment scandal that implicated multiple executives, including Android mobile software creator Andy Rubin. According to the New York Times, Rubin was allegedly paid $90 million to leave his post, with Google stating it had fired 48 people for sexual harassment over the preceding two years.