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Google accused of tolerating sexual and racial harassment

The technology giant Google became mired in a controversy in August after one of its engineers claimed that women were unsuited to work in the technology sector because of their biological characteristics. Google subsequently fired him, but the ensuing media storm has prompted several other women formerly employed by Google to step forward with accounts of sexual and racial discrimination and harassment at the company's California headquarters.

The women claim that Google generally promoted men even when qualified women were vying for the same position, and they say that the barriers to advancement were particularly pronounced for women of color. They also claim that Google's failure to enforce its own workplace rules and policies nurtured racism and misogyny within the company and allowed a hostile work environment to develop. The reports suggest that the problems at Google were institutional with accounts of security guards demanding identification from black employees while allowing their Caucasian colleagues to continue without hindrance.

Google's most recent internal diversity report indicates that more than half of the company's workers are white and 69 percent of them are men. A senior figure at the company did not address the women's claims directly, but she did say that Google was aware that more could be done to hire more women and minorities and improve working conditions at the Mountain View campus.

Women who work in fields traditionally dominated by men sometimes feel unwelcome and unappreciated in the workplace. When these issues are caused inadvertently or by outdated work practices, attorneys with experience in this area may be able to remedy the situation by reminding employers of their legal duties and responsibilities. However, when sexual harassment or discrimination is deliberate and malicious, attorneys may consider filing a claim with the appropriate federal or state agency.

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