A US-based Dalit civil rights organisation on Thursday accused Google of having a casteist and hostile workplace practices.
However, Google has denied the allegations.
“Caste discrimination has no place in our workplace. We also have a very clear, publicly shared policy against retaliation and discrimination in our workplace,” Google spokesperson Shannon Newberry told The Washington Post, which was the first to report about such an alleged work practice inside the company.
An Indian-American employee of Google has resigned in protest.
In a statement, Equality Labs, the leading Dalit civil rights organisation dedicated to caste equity, alleged that Google management revealed its lack of caste competence and endangered its employees as they allowed caste bigotry and harassment to run rampant in the company.
As reported by The Washington Post, Equality Labs’ executive director, Thenmozhi Soundararajan, faced discriminatory claims within Google that led to the cancellation of a Google News diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) talk on caste for April’s Dalit History Month.
“During this time, opponents to caste equity internally circulated disinformation about Soundararajan and Equality Labs to derail the civil rights event until its ultimate cancellation,” Equality Labs said in a statement.
“The movement towards caste equity is one rooted in love, empathy and justice,” said Soundararajan.
“I cannot find the words to express just how traumatic and discriminatory Google’s actions were towards its employees and myself, as the company unlawfully cancelled a talk about caste equity. Google must address the casteism within its workforce that allows for these attacks to occur and continue,” she said.
In response, Tanuja Gupta, a project manager at Google News, founder of Googlers for Ending Forced Arbitration and an original organiser of the Google Walkout, championed more than 400 of Google’s workers to stand up to caste discrimination from Googlers who oppose caste equity, Equality Labs said.
“Gupta’s team members were doxxed as a result of the planned talk, and their safety was jeopardised. Google management retaliated against Gupta with an HR investigation and punitive corrective action that forced her resignation, as she no longer felt safe at the company,” it said.
“Having been at the company for 11 years, I had many reasons for leaving, but this was the only one I needed. In the process of doing my job and promoting caste equity at the company, I saw four women of colour harassed and silenced,” Tanuja Gupta, former Google project manager, shared in her June 1, 2022 resignation email to over 15,000 Googlers.
“The reality is that these are not isolated events, this is a pattern.”
“We are deeply concerned that Google would retaliate against people for championing safer workplaces and caste equity,” said Alvina Yeh, executive director of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, AFL-CIO.
“As a labor constituency organisation representing AAPI workers, we know that supporting racial justice means fighting caste discrimination. Our members have taken a strong stance for caste equity, and we know that this is an attack on the entire labor movement. We condemn the actions of Google management,” Yeh said.
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