Google fired a queer transgender engineer for opposing “discrimination, harassment and white supremacy” at the company, a lawsuit has alleged.
Court documents filed in San Francisco show that Tim Chevalier is suing Google for retaliation, hostile work environment, failure to prevent discrimination and harassment, and wrongful termination.
In June 2016, the suit claims, Chevalier responded to a colleague who wrote on the company’s messaging platform that homosexuality was “immoral”.
Chevalier, who also identifies as disabled, replied that “such comments create a permission structure for violence and discrimination,” particularly as they came weeks after the Orlando massacre, the suit states.
This was allegedly part of a wider pattern.
“Chevalier soon recognised that Google’s workplace structure and culture were discriminatory toward minorities,” the documents say.
“In particular, Google’s internal social networking platforms were widely used to belittle and harass women, people of colour, LGBTQ employees, and other underrepresented groups.
“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.”
The suit says that “Chevalier’s supervisors were critical of Chevalier’s political participation and dismissive of his attempts to change Google’s culture.
“Ultimately, Google fired Chevalier.
“Human Resources explicitly told Chevalier that Google was ending his employment because of his political statements in opposition to the discrimination, harassment, and white supremacy he saw being expressed on Google’s internal messaging systems,” the suit claims.
Google spokesperson Gina Scigliano said: “An important part of our culture is lively debate,” Gizmodo has reported.
“But like any workplace, that doesn’t mean anything goes,” she added.
“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.”