San Francisco Bay Area readers might be interested to learn that the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently began investigating a pregnancy discrimination case filed against Google by a former employee. The plaintiff reportedly lodged a complaint against the California-based company in late 2019. The EEOC transferred the claim to its investigative division on Feb. 19.
According to media reports, the employee, who worked at Google for five years, claims she heard her supervisor make multiple inappropriate comments about pregnant women during her time with the company. She further claims that she reported these comments to the human resources department and was subjected to retaliation as a result. Specifically, when she became pregnant and was preparing to go on maternity leave, her supervisor said her managerial position might not be available when she returned.
In response, the employee sent a 2,300-word memo to her co-workers explaining why she would not be returning to Google after her maternity leave ended. It was read by over 10,000 people at the company. In January, Google claimed it had investigated the case and determined that no discrimination took place. On the day the EEOC began investigating the claim, a Google spokesperson said it takes “courage” for employees to report discrimination claims and that the company “rigorously” investigates each complaint it receives. In 2018, thousands of Google employees staged a walkout over the company’s poor handling of sexual harassment claims.
California employees are protected against workplace pregnancy discrimination by state and federal laws. Workers who believe they have been subjected to on-the-job discrimination might find relief by speaking with an employment attorney about their situation. After learning the specifics of the case, the attorney may recommend filing a claim with the EEOC or a state agency. This action might result in a settlement that compensates the employee for various damages, including back pay and lost benefits.