Google may be an extremely popular and successful company, but the company has had its fair share of rough times. From tax evasion to collecting data from children who use their apps, they've done several things that no company would be proud of. But a new problem seems to be on the horizon- and it's quite the doozy, to say the least.
Ex-Google employee Chelsey Glasson has sued her former employer on the accusation of discriminating against her when she was pregnant. This comes off the heels of a memo published by Glasson last month titled, "I'm Not Returning to Google After Maternity Leave, and Here is Why". The memo was read by over 10 000 Google employees before it was reported on by Motherboard. Despite Glasson releasing it anonymously at the time, many employees who read it voice their support with their own memos.
Glasson claims in her memo that her former manager made inappropriate comments about pregnant women in general, and even questioned the value of bed rest when Glasson told them that she had to take an early maternity leave due to doctor's orders. Glasson speculated that the stress caused by the situation may have exacerbated the complications of her pregnancy. Worse, when she tried to get help from Google's human resources department, her manager responded by retaliating against her.
“During one conversation with my new manager in which I reiterated an early leave and upcoming bedrest, she told me that she had just listened to an NPR segment that debunked the benefits of bedrest,” Glasson wrote in her memo. “She also shared that her doctor had ordered her to take bedrest, but that she ignored the order and worked up until the day before she delivered her son via cesarean section. My manager then emphasized in this same meeting that a management role was no longer guaranteed upon my return from maternity leave, and that she supported my interviewing for other roles at Google.”
Glasson created a GoFundMe page to raise $300 000 to fund her lawsuit. As of now, she's raised just over $3000 to help cover her legal fees. She went so far as to reveal that if she ends up not needing to use all the money she ends up raising, she'll donate it to help other parents fighting similar discrimination as her.
“With a goal of shedding light on pregnancy discrimination and advocating for needed public policy and other changes, I plan to move forward with legal action against Google for the blatant acts of pregnancy discrimination that I experienced,” Glasson wrote on her GoFundMe. “How I was treated by Google, while fighting a condition that was life-threatening to both me and my daughter, was one of the most difficult experiences of my life.”
Glasson has since released the following statement on the matter:
"As a mother of two young children who has been a victim of pregnancy discrimination and on behalf of the millions of working women who become pregnant, we should not be silenced as we fight this illegal bias.
Sadly, pregnancy discrimination is an issue that faces women and our families; whether it is a silicon valley company or a department store chain. I know this because as a Google employee I witnessed pregnancy discrimination, and then was faced with it in my own life. And, like so many women, I felt threatened by retaliation for reporting the discrimination. This memo, which I published internally at Google and has been read by over eleven thousand Google employees, states clearly why we must continue to fight this bias.
In our country, the number of reported instances of pregnancy discrimination reveal that pregnancy discrimination continues to plague our workplaces. These numbers don’t account for all of the unreported illegal acts, and there are many. Fighting pregnancy discrimination is hard, so many mothers, wives and families are silenced. For those who can and do fight, it can mean career-damaging consequences, enduring emotional stress, and potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees.
With a goal of shedding light on pregnancy discrimination and advocating for needed public policy and other changes, I will move forward with legal action. Please help support my fight against pregnancy discrimination through joining my Go Fund Me campaign."