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Former Google Employee Plans to Sue for Pregnancy Discrimination

The author of a viral memo accusing Google of discriminating and retaliating against her for being pregnant went public to reveal her name and her plans to file a lawsuit against the tech giant.

by Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai
Aug 23 2019, 2:56pm

Image: Alberto Pezzali/NurPhoto via Getty Images

A woman who used to work at Google announced on Friday that she plans to sue the company for discriminating against her while she was pregnant.

“My name is Chelsey Glasson. I’m a mother of two young children and a victim of pregnancy discrimination,” the woman wrote in a GoFundMe page she launched Friday to support her upcoming legal fees. “I will not be silenced.”

Earlier this month, Glasson wrote a memo explaining why she was leaving the company after giving birth to her second baby. In the memo, Glasson accused her manager of making inappropriate comments about pregnant women, and retaliating against her after Glasson reached out to Google's human resources department to get help. Glasson alleges that the stress of the situation may have contributed to complications in her pregnancy. When she told her manager that she’d take an early maternity leave following her doctor's advice, the manager questioned the value of bedrest, she said. Motherboard has not independently verified the specifics of her allegations.

“During one conversation with my new manager in which I reiterated an early leave and upcoming bedrest, she told me that she had just listened to an NPR segment that debunked the benefits of bedrest,” Glasson wrote. “She also shared that her doctor had ordered her to take bedrest, but that she ignored the order and worked up until the day before she delivered her son via cesarean section. My manager then emphasized in this same meeting that a management role was no longer guaranteed upon my return from maternity leave, and that she supported my interviewing for other roles at Google.”

Do you work or have you worked at Google, or another tech company? We'd love to hear from you about workplace culture. Using a non-work phone or computer, you can contact Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai securely on Signal at +1 917 257 1382, OTR chat at lorenzofb@jabber.ccc.de, or email lorenzofb@vice.com

More than 10,000 people at Google read Glasson’s memo, before Motherboard reported on it. Several Google employees rallied in her support posting memes on an internal board. At the time, the name of the woman was not known outside of the company.

Now, Glasson has decided to come forward and raise funds for a legal fight against the internet giant.

“With a goal of shedding light on pregnancy discrimination and advocating for needed public policy and other changes, I plan to move forward with legal action against Google for the blatant acts of pregnancy discrimination that I experienced,” Glasson wrote on the fundraiser page. “How I was treated by Google, while fighting a condition that was life-threatening to both me and my daughter, was one of the most difficult experiences of my life.”

To support her upcoming lawsuit, Glasson is seeking to raise $300,000, and says that if she ends up not needing some of that money, she will donate it to cover the legal fees of other parents fighting discrimination.

Glasson declined to comment further, beyond what's included in the GoFundMe page and the memo.

Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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