Lawsuit | Google manager told issues she faced were due to 'everything going on with George Floyd'

Google manager told issues she faced were due to 'everything going on with George Floyd'

A former Google manager has filed a lawsuit against the tech company claiming she was passed over for promotion due to her race and encountered “thinly vailed racist comments”.

Tiffany Minott, who worked as a project manager at Google, says she was consistently undervalued and undercompensated as a black employee at the firm.

Minott claims that despite “exceeding all expectations” set out by the company, she was repeatedly underappreciated while white colleagues with less experience and lower performance levels progressed.

The case

When appointed a new manager, Minott says she was overlooked for a newly created role, that would have given her a nearly £40,000 pay rise, for it to go to a white male colleague with less experience.

The lawsuit describes how she ended up having depression and anxiety due to her treatment and took mental health-related sick leave – this absence and her race being the reason she wasn’t considered for the new position, the lawsuit alleges.

Even when appointed a new team and manager, Minott says she continued to experience discrimination through disproportionately high-performance standards and workload compared to her white colleagues.

“Google consistently undervalues and under-compensates black employees performing jobs requiring the same skill, effort, and responsibility as their white counterparts,” claims lawsuit documents.

The suit also describes instances where a coworker described DEI as “reverse discrimination to white men” and she was told that she had issues accessing work-related tools “because of everything going on with George Floyd” by another colleague.

Minott said that despite complaining to HR about the treatment she had experienced, she was told there was ‘no issue’ after an investigation.

The lawsuit claims the plaintiff continued to experience discrimination until she was laid off due to job cuts in January 2023.

Race and progression

This story sheds light on the need for appropriate training of managers when it comes to unconscious bias, giving appreciation where it’s due, and looking at performance indicators as a means of promoting workers.

These factors are especially important if a workforce isn’t diverse. Google has had a number of race discrimination cases come out against it, most likely because it has only a small percentage of black employees at the company – black staff making up only 5.3 per cent of its workforce, compared with 48.3 per cent white employees and 43.2 Asian staff members.

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With such little representation of black employees at the company, the likelihood of racial discrimination and unconscious bias to proliferate increases.

The CIPD states that an integral aspect of DEI is to "design guidelines and provide training for line managers to help them respond appropriately to diversity needs, as they are vital change agents, but give them scope for flexible decision-making.”

Ultimately, it’s the responsibility of your organisation to equip managers with the tools to be able to lead employees from diverse backgrounds and call out inappropriate or racist behaviour.

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