“Don’t be evil” is the “informal corporate motto” of Google, the company that started with a computer search engine that has become ubiquitous and has now extended into numerous other areas. As mottos go, it’s a good one.
Unfortunately, it may not be as accurate as they’d like. A former employee, James Bara, is suing them for religious (and sexual) discrimination. Bara is a Wiccan.
In the suit, Bara claims his manager made “inappropriate” comments about his religion. Bara alleges that his manager held a meeting with him that the manager called a “Witch trial.” After “receiving four promotions, pay raises, and positive managerial reviews in his almost three-year tenure with Google, Bara was terminated.” He says that this is “an obvious, transparent, and classic [example] of retaliation.”
Of course, this is just the start of a lawsuit. It will go into the courts and we’ll see if the claims are judged valid. Google has stated that they believe the claims are unfounded, but that’s what companies always say in cases like this. If there is any validity, chances are the case will be settled out of court and we’ll never discover what actually happened.
Unfortunately, this sort of thing happens in numerous corporations. If someone above you doesn’t like you for your appearance, religion, gender, vocal characteristics, weight, hair style, skin color, or something else, that person will work to get you fired or make you quit.
If Mr. Bara is accurate, the questions I have about this particular case are:
- Did Google know about the manager’s actions?
- Are they defending an action they knew was illegal?
- If they knew that the manager was performing illegal actions, how are they disciplining the manager?
- What are they doing to insure this won’t happen again?
No corporation the size of Google can know everything everyone in their corporation does. But if someone is doing something discriminatory, the corporation can and should act to correct that person and make equal opportunity rules practical and not merely theoretical. If it’s found out that Mr. Bara is accurate, that’s what Googleâ€”and any company in a similar situationâ€”should do.
In short, they should make “don’t be evil” an actuality rather than words on paper.
What do you think?