Google is facing a lawsuit from a disabled transgender man who alleges he was fired for fighting back against racism in the workplace.
According to USA Today, Tim Chevalier - a queer and transgender man - said he was sacked after trying to educate people on equality. On Wednesday (21 February), the former engineer filed the claim in San Francisco Superior Court.
"In a culture where it's common to respond to diversity initiatives with 'we can't lower the bar', implying a baseline assumption that women, non-binary people, and men of color are incompetent, it's equally important that we don't do the reverse: that we don't insist on white male competence even in the face of clear evidence to the contrary," Chevalier said.
Chevalier was let go in November 2017 and claims Google said it was because of "political statements in opposition to the discrimination, harassment, and white supremacy seen being expressed on Google's internal messaging systems."
It is alleged that in May 2016, an employee asked on a message board if the lower number of Latino and Black workers meant they "were not as good". Another employee allegedly replied saying Google would have to lower its standards to increase the number of minority workers.
"Chevalier pushed back on the online bullying he and others were experiencing, using the same internal messaging systems to try to educate his employer and coworkers on how to change Google's working conditions to be inclusive and supportive of underrepresented minorities, such as himself," the lawsuit states.
Google told USA Today that its policies specifically prohibit racist behaviour. "An important part of our culture is lively debate," spokeswoman Gina Scagliano said. "But like any workplace, that doesn't mean anything goes. All employees acknowledge our code of conduct and other workplace policies."
Another engineer, James Damore, was fired earlier this year after he shared a memo that stated diversity in the workplace was misguided. He claimed that women were less biologically suited to be engineers in the 10-page document.