- More than 10,000 Google workers have read a memo titled "I'm Not Returning to Google After Maternity Leave, and Here is Why," reported Motherboard, Tech by Vice. The Google employee who wrote the memo posted it on an internal message board for pregnant and new mothers.
- The employee wrote in her 2,300-word memo that she reported her manager's discriminatory comments about pregnant women to HR and, despite HR's assurance her manager would not retaliate against her, the manager began sending her angry chats and emails, vetoing her projects, ignoring her during in-person meetings and shaming her publicly. She also alleged that, after joining another team, she was prohibited from managing it until after her maternity leave because her leave could "stress the team" and "rock the boat."
- Google responded to the worker's allegations, saying: "We prohibit retaliation in the workplace and publicly share our very clear policy. To make sure that no complaint raised goes unheard at Google, we give employees multiple channels to report concerns, including anonymously, and investigate all allegations of retaliation."
These allegations continue a chain of employee complaints against Google. Last November, Google workers staged a global walkout protesting what they described as the company's tolerance for discrimination, its mishandling of sexual harassment claims and its mistreatment of minority and part-time workers. In April, Google workers Meredith Whittaker and Claire Stapleton claimed Google retaliated against them for attempting to organize workers.
The memo writer's complaints bring up a number of compliance reminders for employers. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act, an amendment to Title VII, prohibits employers from taking adverse actions against workers because of their pregnancy or for pregnancy-related reasons. If the claims by the memo's author can be substantiated, her manager's comments and subsequent actions could pose serious problems for Google.
The writer's allegations bring up the issue of internal complaints, as well. Following Whittaker and Stapleton's retaliation allegations, Google's Chief Diversity Officer Melonie Parker announced in April a series of steps the company would take to improve transparency and accountability. Parker wrote at the time that the improvements, most of which followed the walkout, weren't just about adding new programs and procedures, but about creating a "workplace filled with dignity and respect." Changes included an intranet for accepting employee complaints, an Investigations Care Program and expansion of the company's Support Person Program. Such processes for internal complaints generally signal an employer's willingness to listen and resolve issues, experts previously told HR Dive.