Jalon Hall, a deaf black female at Google, filed a lawsuit against the company for not treating her well. Charles Platiau/Reuters

Jalon Hall, the only deaf and black female employee to ever work for Google, filed a lawsuit against the tech organisation last December for discrimination.

Hall's lawsuit is based on her feeling that Google had been mistreating her due to her race and disability.

Hall's central claim in the lawsuit included her not being provided access to sign language interpreters despite Google promising her that when she took on the job as a moderator in 2020. Hall's responsibility at the company was to regulate children's safety for YouTube videos.

However, Google was unwilling to let interpreters work alongside Hall when she would be reviewing YouTube content. This was because the company had concerns about interpreters viewing graphic content and not remaining confidential, despite a code of conduct in the US that prohibits interpreters from speaking of any protected information.

This left Hall isolated during her work hours and made it incredibly difficult to consistently meet the standards required at a leading tech organisation such as Google. A moderator had to review 75 videos during an eight-hour shift each workday, but Hall's lack of access to an interpreter meant she often came up short in meeting company requirements.

She would have to rely on lipreading and automated transcripts to review YouTube content, which worked effectively for a period, but it soon became difficult for her. On multiple occasions, she would spend over one hour analysing a whole video before realising that she could not adequately review the content.

Aside from her primary duties, Hall felt she was discriminated against when she would not get called over for roundtable conversations and was not handed a promotion despite being at the company for three years. She is currently a level-two employee, but most of Google's staff typically move up to the third level after spending as much time as Hall has at the company.

Jalon Hall
Jalon Hall, Google's first and only black deaf hire, is suing the tech giant for discrimination (LinkedIn screenshot) IBTimes UK

Google had been keen to get the lawsuit dismissed and filed at the beginning of this month as they felt Hall's complaints were made too late. The organisation did not deny any of Hall's claims.

The company's manager of the machine-learning research program was not sympathetic to Hall's struggles, telling her to "keep her mouth shut and take a sales role" whilst also being discriminative, labelling her as an "aggressive black deaf woman".

Hall felt that Google was using her to help with the company's reputation and make it appear as a diverse and welcoming workplace. She was featured on Google's LinkedIn page with a post that mentioned her "paving the way and helping expand opportunities for Black Deaf professionals!"

Also, an Instagram post by the tech company celebrated her diversity, stating, "Thanks, Jalon, for making #LifeAtGoogle more inclusive!"

Speaking to Wired magazine, Hall expressed her disappointment at how Google behaved, commenting: "Google is using me to make them look inclusive for the deaf community and the overall disability community. In reality, they need to do better."

Despite these hardships, Hall is determined to influence real change at the company and has no plans to quit. She said: "I was born to push through hard times. It would be selfish to quit Google. I'm standing in the gap for those often pushed aside."

Black and deaf individuals are not primarily represented at Google as they make up very little of the company's employee pool, which includes over 180,000 people.

In the United States, just 2.4 per cent of Google's workforce comprises black female staff. Recent internal data displayed that black females have the highest rate of the company's departures involving women.