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Don’t Be Evil

This post was written by Donald Michael Kraig
on November 3, 2009 | Comments (3)

“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:

  1. Did Google know about the manager’s actions?
  2. Are they defending an action they knew was illegal?
  3. If they knew that the manager was performing illegal actions, how are they disciplining the manager?
  4. 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 Google—and any company in a similar situation—should do.

In short, they should make “don’t be evil” an actuality rather than words on paper.

What do you think?

Reader Comments

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#1 
Written By AllRise
on November 3rd, 2009 @ 2:52 pm

The James Bara VS. Google case is now online at the AllRise court. Join the debate and cast your vote – http://bit.ly/AllRise268

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#2 
Written By Bob
on November 4th, 2009 @ 9:53 pm

I ask all of those in the Wiccan community to not allow… [one person's allegations] to sway the perceptions of our community on a company that’s entire foundation is based upon the principle of “Don’t be evil.” Google’s mission statement is the only corporate message I have ever seen that lines up perfectly with the end of the Wiccan Rede. This is not a case of a bad apple spoiling the bunch, but rather a classic example of someone laying claims to a rich and ancient tradition without understanding the core beliefs of that tradition. Before passing judgement upon Google or any of the employees therein, I plead with our community to wait and see the outcome of the trial, which [I believe] will exonerate Google and will erase the allegations against Ms. Sohn.

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#3 
Written By Donald Michael Kraig
on November 8th, 2009 @ 12:16 pm

We hope that many people will want to comment on contemporary issues. However, there is a difference between stating facts, making assertions, and trying to post libelous statements. Bob’s comment contained both a libelous statement and a belief presented as a fact rather than an opinion. The edits have not changed the opinion of the poster, they have only removed a potential libel and made it clear that a statement was an opinion.

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