Google recently faced a lawsuit from a contractor. The contractor sued Google for not doing enough to protect him from racial discrimination while he was working on an undercover project for Google maps.
Ahmed Rashid (not his real name) was working for a covert Project of Google Maps in shopping malls. The UK citizen of Moroccan descent was again and again suspected as a terrorist by the security in the malls where he was working to get the information about Wi-Fi signals. According to Ahmed, the situation was problematic because he could not disclose his identity.
Ahmed raised the issue with Google, but Google didn’t do enough to protect him. He often asked for a badge or tag that could prevent him from being judged, and show that he is working with Google, but that request went unnoticed. The final nail in the coffin was the event when Ahmed was followed by the security in a mall, who suspected him to be a terrorist. Ahmed reported this with Google which went unnoticed too. Later that evening, Google withdrew an offer for a new contract with Ahmed which he was long promised of. This was when Ahmed filed a suit against the company.
Google denied all such allegations. However, the giant paid £4,000 to settle the dispute under a non-disclosure agreement.
To Google’s bad luck, despite the non-disclosure agreement, Ahmed spoke out after the global walkout by the Google employees in protest of sexual harassment and other inequalities. Ahmad placed his stance:
“There was a complete disregard for the safety and interest of contractors. This research was being conducted in secret at the expense of the security of Google contractors that fit a stereotypically Muslim/Arab profile, there weren’t any Arabs on the board designing this project.”
Ahmed’s stance was supported by his co-worker, who happens to be white. Despite signing off a non-disclosure agreement, he too registered his comment with the Guardian:
“It would have been helpful to all of us to have ID because we all got stopped, but a lot of us didn’t have problems because we were white. Google could have done more to help him.”
Despite all the moves that Google has recently taken in response to the walkout, Ahmed still thinks there is a lot more to be done:
“We need to address sexual misconduct, but nobody is talking about inter-sectional issues, like institutional discrimination and racism. The company must address issues of systemic racism and discrimination, including pay equity and rates of promotion, and not just sexual harassment alone.”
In response to this Google said a few words to The Guardian, which explains their stance over this issue:
“We often work with service providers to measure Wi-Fi signal strength, which helps us improve Google’s mapping products. All employees and contractors are provided with clear guidelines that outline the details of their project and role, and they’re instructed to be forthright about the fact that they’re working on behalf of Google.”
However, the above statements from Google contradict with what Ahmed has to say. Meanwhile, we hope for a better and safer work environment worldwide!
Until next time!