An internal Google memo alleging professional retaliation and discrimination due to pregnancy has gone viral, racking up more than 10,000 views from employees since its publication last week.
Motherboard, which broke the story Monday, says it has “verified the authenticity of the memo,” which was posted on an internal message board for new and expecting mothers.
Written by an unnamed female employee and titled “I’m Not Returning to Google After Maternity Leave, and Here is Why,” the memo portrays the company as unsupportive of young mothers and protective of senior staff who exhibit discriminatory behaviour.
The essay begins a year-and-a-half ago when the author reported her female manager to HR for making inappropriate comments about the work ethic of another team member who was suspected to be pregnant.
She describes a near-immediate shift in her manager’s demeanor following the meeting, despite being told measures were in place to prevent retaliation.
“I endured months of angry chats and emails, vetoed projects, her ignoring me … and public shaming,” the memo reads.
The writer says she also learned her manager was making disparaging comments about her to senior staff members and actively looking to replace her, despite having received good performance reviews and a promotion before talking with HR.
Additional HR complaints appeared to be pointless.
“HR acknowledged they were aware of some of the activities and that such behavior was inappropriate, but stated there was no evidence of retaliation and that a formal investigation consequently wasn’t warranted,” the memo reads.
When the writer became pregnant she says she felt forced to switch departments and take on a role of lesser responsibility due to the “unhealthy work environment” she found herself in.
“I stood up for a mother on my team and doing so sent me down a path that destroyed my career trajectory at Google,” she concludes.
This isn’t the first time Google has been accused of unfair work practices.
In November, 20,000 employees worldwide participated in a global walk-out to protest the company’s handling of sexual harassment, gender, and racial discrimination claims.
In response to the protests, Google revised its sexual misconduct reporting protocols — but the timeline laid out in the memo spans into the present day, suggesting more needs to be done to protect employees.
Google has responded, saying in a statement published on Motherboard that it prohibits retaliation in the workplace.
“To make sure that no complaint raised goes unheard at Google, we give employees multiple channels to report concerns, including anonymously, and investigate all allegations of retaliation,” a company spokesperson said.