YouTube sued for limiting white, Asian male hires for diversity purposes

Image source Neon Tommy via Flickr

Image source Neon Tommy via Flickr

Wilberg-who worked at Google for nine years, including four years as a recruiter at YouTube-filed his lawsuit in January after he was sacked last November in what he claims was retaliation for his complaints about the hiring policies. Wilberg's lawsuit alleges that in the first quarter of 2016, YouTube recruiters were told that they were expected to hire five new employees each. Which one is it?

A Google spokesperson responded to the suit, releasing a statement to the Journal that read, "We have a clear policy to hire candidates based on their merit, not their identity". The former staffer said Google - YouTube's parent company - invoked "clear and irrefutable policies" meant to exclude white and Asian men in hopes of increasing the brand's diversity last spring.

According to Wilberg, he was sacked a year ago in November after he talked about the "illegal and discriminatory hiring practices" in the company. Former Google employee James Damore had earlier claimed that he was sacked for writing an anti-diversity memo which caused controversy. Each of these new employees allegedly must have been from an underrepresented group, and recruiters used what was known as a "diversity tracker" to keep a count of the number of minorities hired. When Lee filed a complaint with the company's urging, she said that Google declined to investigate.

Wilberg claimed that he and other recruiters were uncomfortable with the hiring practice and even claimed that recruiters felt senior managers were talking about African-American employees like "we were talking about Black slaves as slave traders on a ship". He also claimed in the lawsuit that he was sacked because of his complaints that he was being discriminated against for being a White male. Damore withdrew the complaint that he filed earlier with the National Labor Relations Board after it was found that Google did not override any law while firing him. In response, Google CEO Sundar Pichai condemned his views. Employment lawyers explain to the Journal that while it's permissible for companies to try to boost diversity in its ranks, they can't hire based on race or gender, meaning quotas are off-limits. Damore was subsequently fired by Google. White or Asian employees actually made up 91% of Google's total workforce, which has barely changed in the past three years. And, this has put the search giant amid the nation's culture wars.

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