last year stopped hiring white and Asian males for technical
positions because they didn’t help the world’s largest video site
achieve its goals for improving diversity, according to a civil
lawsuit filed by a former employee.
lawsuit, filed by Arne Wilberg, a white male who worked at Google
for nine years, including four years as a recruiter at YouTube,
alleges the division of Alphabet Inc.’s GOOGL -2.94%▲
set quotas for hiring minorities. Last spring, YouTube recruiters
were allegedly instructed to cancel interviews with applicants who
weren’t female, black or Hispanic, and to “purge entirely” the
applications of people who didn’t fit those categories, the
Google spokeswoman said the company will vigorously defend
itself in the lawsuit. “We have a clear policy to hire
candidates based on their merit, not their identity,” she said
in a statement. “At the same time, we unapologetically try to
find a diverse pool of qualified candidates for open roles, as
this helps us hire the best people, improve our culture, and
build better products.”
familiar with YouTube’s and Google’s hiring practices in
interviews corroborated some of the lawsuit’s allegations,
including the hiring freeze of white and Asian technical
employees, and YouTube’s use of quotas.
*Includes employees outside U.S.
Note: Numbers may not equal 100% due to rounding.
Source: the companies
Wilberg’s lawsuit, filed in January in California’s San Mateo
County Superior Court, alleges that Google discriminated against
him for his sex and race, retaliated by firing him when he
complained, and in the process violated antidiscrimination laws.
Mr. Wilberg declined to comment through his attorney.
lawsuit highlights the tension facing the technology industry as
it tries to boost minority hiring, a stated goal of many large
companies, including Google. It also threatens to ignite
simmering controversy about Silicon Valley’s politics and
whether its predominantly liberal ideology is affecting how
in particular has found itself in the middle of the gender
debate following dueling lawsuits in January, one that alleged
the company discriminated against women, the other claiming
discrimination against conservative white men. The latter suit
was filed by plaintiff James Damore, an engineer who was fired
from the company last year for distributing a memo that
suggested men were better suited to certain tech jobs than
women. Google has said it disagrees with the allegations in
Wilberg, 40, alleges he complained to multiple managers at
YouTube about its hiring practices over the past two years, and
elevated those complaints to Google managers before he was
ultimately fired last November.
are allowed to undertake initiatives to promote diversity
hiring, employment lawyers say. But under Title VII, the federal
antidiscrimination law, employers aren’t allowed to make hiring
decisions based on race and gender among other protected
classes. That means they can’t employ practices like hiring
quotas based on race or only hiring one type of minority
candidate, attorneys say. Such practices would also run afoul of
Koh contributed to this article.