Ross LaJeunesse, Google's former head of international relations, who was tasked with ensuring the company protects human rights, says he was pushed out as Google sought to build business with China.
He also calls out a toxic work environment:
It was no different in the workplace culture. Senior colleagues bullied and screamed at young women, causing them to cry at their desks. At an all-hands meeting, my boss said, “Now you Asians come to the microphone too. I know you don’t like to ask questions.” At a different all-hands meeting, the entire policy team was separated into various rooms and told to participate in a “diversity exercise” that placed me in a group labeled “homos” while participants shouted out stereotypes such as “effeminate” and “promiscuous.” Colleagues of color were forced to join groups called “Asians” and “Brown people” in other rooms nearby.
In each of these cases, I brought these issues to HR and senior executives and was assured the problems would be handled. Yet in each case, there was no follow up to address the concerns — until the day I was accidentally copied on an email from a senior HR director. In the email, the HR director told a colleague that I seemed to raise concerns like these a lot, and instructed her to “do some digging” on me instead.
Google replies: “'We have an unwavering commitment to supporting human rights organizations and efforts,' said Google spokeswoman Jenn Kaiser, who said LaJeunesse’s departure was due to a 'reorganization of our policy team.'"