Tuesday 31 January 2023

Google Fired Exec For Not Being ‘Inclusive’ By Favoring High Performers, Lawsuit Alleges

 A former high-ranking Google executive, who was allegedly sexually harassed by his boss, was later fired by the tech giant for failing to be “inclusive” simply because he favored high-performing employees, according to a lawsuit filed in New York federal court.

In August, Google fired Ryan Olohan as managing director of food, beverage, and restaurants, telling him it was because he was not “inclusive” enough, according to the lawsuit.

“In response to Olohan’s request during the call for specifics as to why Google believed he was not inclusive, Google’s Employee Investigations team explained that he had shown favoritism towards high performers, which it considered ‘non-inclusive,’ and commented on employees’ walking pace and hustle, which it considered ‘ableist,’” the suit said.

In February 2022, Adam Stewart, vice president of Google’s consumer, government & entertainment division, told Olohan that there were “obviously too many white guys” in the division and in July, Stewart and the company’s human resources department “encouraged Olohan to terminate the employment of a male member of his team and replace him with a female hire,” the suit said.

The suit said that the vague references to “inclusion” seemed to simply fault Olohan for being a white male. “Defendants discriminated against Olohan because of his gender and race, in violation of his statutory rights,” the suit said.

The allegations of non-inclusion against Olohan are notable because his online footprint suggests that he, in fact, had an unusually strong commitment to inclusion.

Olohan has seven children who are racial minorities because his wife is Asian. In his spare time, the ex-tech exec runs an ice cream parlor whose goal is to foster inclusivity by employing people with Down syndrome, according to a 2020 article about his shop—which is called “Seven Scoops” and has the motto “Many Flavors One Community.”

The New Jersey ice cream shop donated more than $70,000 to needy people in its first six months, and Olohan organized a camp-out in which dozens of children slept in tents outside the store to raise money and build empathy for the homeless, it said.

“My life revolves around God, family, Google and Seven Scoops – in that order,” Olohan said in the article.

The lawsuit says Google lavished praise on Olohan for being a high performer, promoting him rapidly and giving him its “Founders Award” every year, which comes with a $250,000 equity grant.

The lawsuit says that Olohan himself was the victim of sexual harassment at work, which the company did not seem interested in policing. A female employee, Tiffany Miller, allegedly drunkenly “rubbed his stomach” at a work party and told him he had “such a nice body,” the lawsuit said. Olohan filed a human resources complaint, but the company did nothing—with an HR rep noting that if the situation was “reversed,” with a man coming onto a woman, it would have, the lawsuit said.

Olohan sued Google as well as Miller, saying Miller repeatedly accused him of “microaggressions” in retaliation, but that human resources officials were present for his remarks and confirmed that he had not microaggressed, it said.

Google said in a statement “This employee was terminated with cause after a thorough investigation of complaints by numerous employees. We firmly stand by our decision here and we will vigorously defend ourselves against these claims.”

Olohan did not return a request for comment.

A representative for Miller said in a statement that “This lawsuit is a fictional account of events filled with numerous falsehoods, fabricated by a disgruntled ex-employee, who was senior to Ms. Miller at Google. Ms. Miller never made any ‘advance’ toward Mr. Olohan, which witnesses can readily corroborate. Even more disturbing is the overt sexism and racism in Mr. Olohan‘s efforts to blame others for his termination.”

Google once held “antiracist” trainings for its employees in which a presenter positioned Daily Wire founder Ben Shapiro, an orthodox Jew, as the foundation of a “white supremacy pyramid” that included Donald Trump higher up the chain, and culminated in “mass murder,” according to materials obtained by Chris Rufo. The company also doled out cash awards available only to non-white individuals to create “an image-based project that explores and uplifts communities of color.”

Campaign finance records in the recent Georgia Senate runoff campaign showed more than 800 donations from Google employees to the Democrat, and only six to the Republican.

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