A woman has written a 2,300-word pregnancy memo and posted it on an internal message board at Google alleging the tech giant discriminated against her and another woman because they were pregnant. Motherboard reports the memo titled “I’m Not Returning to Google After Maternity Leave and Here’s Why” has been seen by more than 10,000 Google employees.
In the memo, the woman accuses her manager at Google of making discriminatory comments against pregnant women. According to Business Insider, the manager said a woman on the team must be pregnant because she was “overly emotional and hard to work with when pregnant.” The woman says her manager also talked about the team member’s “likely pregnancy-related mental health struggles.”
When the woman went to human resources to report the incidents, she says things only got worse. Motherboard reports the woman claims her manager retaliated with months of “angry chats and emails, vetoed projects” as well as being ignored during in-person encounters, and being publicly shamed.
She goes on to explain she was told she wouldn’t be able to manage anyone on her team until after she got back from maternity leave because her maternity leave might “stress the team.” When she told her manager her doctor recommended an early maternity leave and bed rest due to pregnancy complications, she says her manager downplayed the effectiveness of bed rest during pregnancy. She also alleges her manager told her a management role was not guaranteed when she returned from maternity leave.
When she emailed her manager to tell her she would be starting her maternity leave, she claims she received an angry response accusing her of not meeting her job expectations. She once again reported the incident to human resources, which did open up an investigation, but found no evidence of discrimination.
In reaction to the claims made in the memo, Google released this statement to Motherboard:
“We prohibit retaliation in the workplace and publicly share our very clear policy. To make sure that no complaint raised goes unheard at Google, we give employees multiple channels to report concerns, including anonymously, and investigate all allegations of retaliation.”
Google is no stranger to controversy regarding discrimination. Last fall, workers staged a walkout after learning executives accused of sexual harassment were paid millions of dollars in severance pay.
To read a redacted version of the Google viral memo, click here.