Google paid £ 4,000 to settle a discrimination lawsuit that alleges it did not do enough to protect a contractor from being racially qualified while working on an undercover project for Google Maps in shopping malls, The Guardian reports. The contractor, a British citizen of Moroccan descent, said he was subjected to frequent harassment, including being asked if he was a terrorist, while collecting information on wi-fi signals inside stores, and the situation was made worse by receiving instructions. not to reveal that he was conducting an investigation for Google.
Ahmed Rashid (not his real name) hired Google last year to work on Expedite, a project aimed at helping with indoor mapping in shopping malls. Rashid told the Guardian that he sued the company when an offer for a new contract was withdrawn after he complained that he was harassed while performing his duties. Google denied the wrongdoing, but paid to solve the case. Rashid agreed to sign a nondisclosure agreement, but decided to speak public after the global strike by Google employees to protest sexual harassment and other forms of discrimination.
“There was a complete disregard for the safety and interest of the contractors. This investigation was conducted in secret at the expense of the safety of Google contractors who fit a stereotypical Muslim / Arab profile, ”Rashid said, adding that he believes Google did not think about how origin investigators would be treated. Arabic because “they did not exist There is no Arab on the board who is designing this project.”
Rashid says his team members walked around the stores at six, eight, or 12-minute intervals, while recording information about the strength and range of their wi-fi signals through a privately installed Google app. on their phones. Rashid’s claims that he was frequently subjected to racial profiling and harassment were corroborated by a member of the white team who also spoke to The Guardian despite having signed an NDA on the project.
“It would have been helpful for all of us to have identification because we were all detained, but many of us had no problems because we were white. Google could have done more to help him,” said the team member.
Rashid said he asked Google to let him wear a badge to prevent harassment, but was ignored until he complained that he had been followed by security at a London shopping center last September. Rashid claims that a new contract that he had been promised was withdrawn that same day.
While Google’s policies regarding sexual harassment, including forced arbitration (which the company announced after the arrests would end), have come under scrutiny, Rashid believes the company must address other issues as well. “We need to address sexual misconduct, but no one talks about cross-cutting issues such as institutional discrimination and racism,” he said. Similar calls have also been made by other employees, including the organizers of the strike, who wrote that “the company must address the problems of systemic racism and discrimination, including equal pay and promotion rates, and not just sexual harassment alone.”
TechCrunch has reached out to Google for comment. In a statement to The Guardian, the company said: “We often work with service providers to measure wi-fi signal strength, which helps us improve Google’s mapping products. To all employees and contractors they are provided with clear guidelines outlining the details of their project and its role, and told to be honest about the fact that they are working on behalf of Google. “