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Repeated sexual harassment of women at Google due to 'bro culture', new lawsuit claims

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Loretta Lee alleges daily abuse at the hands of her male colleagues that wasn't investigated

Anna Freeman

01 Marzo 2018 13:47

Internet giant Google’s ‘bro-culture’ allowed daily sexual harassment of a female software engineer, according to a new lawsuit from a former employee.

The company has been hit by a string of legal suits over the past few years. Loretta Lee, who worked for Google for eight years before being fired in 2016, filed a suit against the company for sexual harassment, gender discrimination, and wrongful termination in California state court.

The complaint was first published by Gizmodo, where Lee states that that she was subject to ‘lewd comments, pranks and even physical violence’ on a daily basis, including male colleagues spiking her drinks with alcohol, shooting Nerf balls at her, sending her sexually suggestive messages and even slapping her in the face in one instance.

In an especially worrying instance, Lee alleges she found a male co-worker on all fours underneath her desk and ‘believed he may have installed some type of camera or similar device under her desk’. The suit argues that Google’s treatment of Lee was ‘consistent with a pattern and practice of ignoring sexual harassment in the workplace, making no significant efforts to take corrective action, and punishing the victim’

However, a Google spokesman, Ty Sheppard, said in a statement: ‘We have strong policies against harassment in the workplace and review every complaint we receive. We take action when we find violations – including termination of employment.’

Lee’s is the latest in a string of lawsuits that have attacked the company over issues such as harassment, speech and diversity. A particularly controversial suit attracted attention when James Damore was fired because of a memo he released about gender in the workplace.

Damore’s firing for ‘advancing harmful gender stereotypes’ ’prompted outrage on the right because, according to critics, Google was biased against conservatives. Damore then filed a class action suit alleging that Google discriminates against white male conservatives.

Furthermore, a former Google employee, the site’s reliability engineer Tim Chevalier, claimed in his own lawsuit last week that he was fired for speaking out against Damore’s memo on internal message boards, which his lawyer described as a ‘cesspool of bullying and harassment’.

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