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Female Google employee endured spiked drinks and being slapped, lawsuit says

Google is facing yet another harassment lawsuit, this time over the rampant “bro culture” that fostered misconduct.

by Zoha Qamar
Mar 1 2018, 5:12pm

Google is facing yet another harassment lawsuit, this time over the rampant “bro culture” that fostered misconduct.

Loretta Lee, a former employee of almost eight years until being fired in 2016, filed suit on Wednesday against the tech giant, alleging sexual harassment, discrimination, retaliation, and wrongful termination. At one point, she even found a man hiding under her desk for no apparent reason, according to the lawsuit.

The suit describes several other accounts of misconduct, including daily stints of “lewd comments, pranks, and even physical violence” from male co-workers. For example, they spiked her drinks and attacked her with Nerf guns, the lawsuit says. A male co-worker also once messaged her asking for a “horizontal hug,” while another slapped her across the face at a company holiday party, according to the suit.

When Lee filed complaints with Google, the company never investigated, according to the lawsuit. At first, she didn’t want to file any formal complaints in fear of retaliation from her colleagues, but HR forced her to, the lawsuit says. After that, Lee said her group stopped approving her ideas and code, and because of her lack of contribution, she was eventually fired, the lawsuit says.

“We take action when we find violations — including termination of employment,” Google spokesman Ty Sheppard said in a statement. “We have strong policies against harassment in the workplace and review every complaint we receive.”

Lee’s lawsuit is the latest in a stream of litigation against Google, as well as other major tech companies across Silicon Valley. Several LGBTQ+ and female former employees have sued Google with allegations of repeated harassment and zero company intervention. An ongoing case with the Department of Labor also charges Google with systematic gender pay inequality, which Google denies.

Lee’s case also comes six months after the infamous anti-diversity manifesto by former Google employee James Damore, who’s now suing for wrongful termination too. He was fired after the public release of his 10-page screed, which alleges men are naturally “better leaders” than women, who are too neurotic to succeed in the workplace.

Cover image: A young man tests the Google Daydream VR device during the Mobile World Congress Day 2 on February 27, 2018, in Barcelona. (Photo by Joan Cros/NurPhoto/Sipa USA)(Sipa via AP Images)

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