Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge
The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) is looking into how Google treats its Black female employees, according to a report by Reuters. The report says that the regulator has been asking employees questions about harassment and discrimination, after receiving formal complaints.
The report doesn’t make any mention of the DFEH bringing charges against Google as it did with Activision Blizzard and says that the interviews being conducted don’t necessarily mean that Google could face charges.
According to a diversity report Google released earlier this year, Black women make up around 1.8 percent of its workforce and departed the company at a higher than normal rate. In the report, the company said it had “room for improvement” when it came to keeping underrepresented talent.
We’ve heard about issues relating to equity from former employees. Earlier this year, a lawsuit brought against Google by four former female employees was given class-action status, with the women claiming that they received lower bonuses and salaries than male counterparts. The company also made headlines after AI ethicist Timnit Gebru claimed she was retaliated against and fired for asking the company to be more transparent with its paper publishing process. (Gebru says she faced pushback from the company about her work criticizing its language models.) Another female member of Google’s AI ethics team was also fired after she says she searched her email for evidence of Gebru facing discrimination.
Google didn’t immediately respond to The Verge’s request for comment about the DFEH investigation.