There are other stories where someone claims something that can't be proven and that was either not witnessed, or must have been denied by everyone. Yeah it sucks if everyone on your team is protecting a douche, but... is HR supposed to intervene and fire someone because only one person claims something happened?
edit: *I mean anyone in HR. Obviously the team members protecting people are at fault in the first place. If you're on the victim side of this, you have to have a paper trail. Even messaging a coworker, "Didn't [boss]'s joke bother you? Where he/she [dropped the N-word | kept talking about sex]?" Then HR investigation can't say there's no evidence. If it progresses to the point of a lawsuit, now you actually have evidence.
A lot of what I hear about google sounds like what you get when you let the inmates run the asylum. For example, allowing political discussions on company forums or letting employees get the impression they have some social responsibility or a responsibility to take a position is just a recipe for disaster. What you end up with is conflict and immaturity in the workplace because politics and career have combined to become part of their identity. That's toxic in the type of organization that has historically been disconnected from politics and social causes. It's no surprise this kind of stuff is going on and people are chalking it up to retaliation for this, that or the other thing. In normal companies, people get moved around, demoted or ignored all the time and they don't always blame it on retaliation for political beliefs or for reporting abuse. They blame it on some asshole manager or decide the company isn't for them and they move on. Sounds like google needs a higher degree of professionalism.
Even if what you’re describing is normal corporate behavior, it’s still not great. Maybe we shouldn’t be so quick to accept the idea of “asshole managers” or toxic corporate cultures, and we should be reporting on this sort of thing more? As a single individual, it’s difficult to change a culture that spans across different companies, and sometimes you’ll need to pick your battles, but I don’t think we should tear down people who are trying to change the status quo for the better. Google employees are in a good position to do this too, since their protests will draw more attention than from someone in a small, unknown company and can shed a light on these practices in other places as well.
This is demonstrated aptly against women. Men blame both failure and success of women on their gender. And the reality? Do women hide in their separated berthings and screen calls for each other? You bet. Do women get promoted because theyre more flirtatious and more easy to get along with? Duh. People that bitch about the above like to focus on those 6 problem women and forget theres 50 men you can barely count on to piss on a fire. Side story: I knew a salty submarine (100% male until ~5 years ago in US) male master chief that summed women in the navy perfectly: women are people; some good, some bad, some in the middle, and if you treat them like sailors, they act like sailors.
Point is, non-professional discussion rarely belong in the workplace. Letting those go basically guarantees conflict.
An overly broad generalisation. In situations where there's a direct conflict between the needs of the company and the employee - yes, absolutely. But those are relatively rare, in my experience,
FWIW, this sort of thing is included in every HR training I have ever done. HR is obligated to investigate issues regardless of the desire of the complainant. This is both for the benefit of the company (that doesn't want to employ a problematic employee) and other employees (that do not want to be future victims).
That's the gist of the #believeallwomen movement. No due process or innocent until proven guilty, just one accusation from a person with an identity that has more "oppression" points than your own identity and it is off to the guillotine with you.
I do not believe this is the correct way for society to function and thrive. It will self-select for sub-optimal or even outright dystopian outcomes. I wonder how SV tech companies that encourage and hire people with these viewpoints will fare once the money hose runs out?
What seemed like an enlightened powerpoint presentation that couldn't fail is turning against them. By activity seeking out these viewpoints google should have expected to make internal changes that promoted fairness over value. Google refuses to prioritize empowerment over functioning process and there is a mismatch between what they say and do.
Google can't have teams decide by a manager picking who they want because they may be biased. Culturally that's a big change.
How can this ever be true. Why would someone possibly expect HR to protect them.
Isn't it basic commonsense that HR( or anyone) works for person who pays them. Their job is to protect their employers from you ( not the other way around). I've never worked at a place where this wasn't true. Maybe this should be taught in college or something.
Experienced employee: "HR's priority is protecting management."
Manager: "HR's priority is protecting the company."
Experienced manager: "HR's priority is protecting HR."
It's a shitty unwinnable situation for employees, I've been on the shit end of this stick before at a different tech co for complaining and was retaliated against. It's not fun and I feel sympathy for anyone who's lives are being turned over because of it.
This is not true. You don't have to record anything with HR for legal action. Its not a prerequisite by any means.
Going to HR is always a wrong move. Get a lawyer.
BTW, you sue your company and you're gone either way.
This is horrible advice. Going to HR is about leaving a paper trail, which is very important. No judge or arbitrator is going to give two hoots about i-said/they-said without (dated) documentation to back it up.
In an HN discussion about dealing with medical billing / insurance people who screw you over, it was recommend to keep meticulous notes of everything, and that reading back specific dates and names of people you spoke to who contradicted the person you're speaking to now got people to take you seriously and fix their mistakes real quick. I have since found that to be true.
You're responsible for keeping your own paper trail.
Things like my manager didn't listen to me so I feel belittled. I have the second most experience so he should have. The company then moved me to a different team and I wasn't second in command so I lost my leadership.
Doesn't the manager pick the team? If you don't support his vision and want to use a different approach being moved to a different team may be the best solution. What does this person want Google to do?
Talk to the manager and tell them to listen to change the approach and listen to this team member because they have different ideas and they need to feel heard.
Google can't get involved at that level and start second guessing technical details just because someone needs to be heard. They will judge the manager by the project's overall goals.
The problem is google is giving too much freedom to employees who are use to a little bit more handholding and structured interactions.
> “I witnessed first hand (and was told second-hand) of several situations where women were being belittled, insulted and ignored. As the person with the second-longest tenure on the team, I suggested in a few 1:1s that my manager confront some of these issues,” wrote another Googler. “Because of my advocacy I was removed from my tech lead position and moved to another team along with the only woman left under my then-manager.”
Is it a smoking gun? No, but it’s curious that one of the longest tenured members of the team was removed from their leadership position and moved to another team only after speaking up about harassment.
The most important role that person has is to support the leader and implement their ideas while providing leadership to the team. Advocacy for her own ideas and rallying the team behind them doesn't support this.
So google decides to move unhappy employee and friend to a team with a different vision . On the new team her she doesn't have the service level others do.
What would you have done?
Move her to a new team with more junior members so she can still feel like a leader still? That project will be less important than the project she is on. Does that matter?
Maybe they wanted to put her on a team with stronger senior leadership to help guide her.
Should they have moved the manager on and made her manager?
When I see comments like: belittled, insulted and ignored
The manager heard how she wanted to do the project and gave reasons why. She did not accept his leadership and kept bring up her point of view. At first he answered them but tiring of being undermined he gave less importance to what she was saying until just ignoring her. She rallied others to go against the manager and used that in her complaint.
Google took the issue serious and said we need to move her and her friend to another team. If the manager has similiar issues in the future they may let him go. If she has similiar issues on her new team the same might apply.
Internally she may not be asked to join as many teams. And he will be watched closely. Lose-lose
Corporate culture is very much a zero-sum game, and I think a pinch of cynicism (or heck, realism) can go a long way.
It's weird that HR has to be such an adversarial entity though. One might naively expect them to provide some kind of useful utility beyond protecting the company, even if that's their primary purpose... In my only rather mundane interaction with them, not as a victim or anything, at the suggestion of the office manager I tested the waters with a complaint about people bringing their kids into the office and letting them roam. I still recollect a surreal feeling from the HR rep telling me how they liked how carefully and precisely worded my email was -- it felt like a sign of them telling me they know that I know not to trust them and that my distrust is justified since without such careful wording it'd be trivial to paint me as a parent- or child-hating monster, or whatever, who is the real problem. I got more than I expected out of the exchange (a reminder was sent out to the office that it's against the rules -- not that it stopped anyone the following summer) but the experience alone from satisfying my curiosity on whether HR could be useful with even this one minor annoyance was worth the risk (real or imagined) of backfire.
History and experience tells me the exact opposite - most folks still think HR is there for them, which is the root of many issues.
Organizations are prone to various pathological behaviors, but the individuals in them are still thinking breathing feeling human beings and sometimes they choose to act decently. Be willing to give them that chance.
My friends and I all had different theories on why it's so prone to scandals, but we could agree that:
1. it still wasn't fully equal
2. it was equal to empower people to retaliate against the inequalities
3. there's a good chance some people were patting theme-selves on the back without fully achieving the goal
When we were talking about it, it was in the context of Meow Wolf. But it also seems to scale to a lot of West Coast politics.
Now, actually fighting misogyny and racism within the company has the potential to affect their bottom line, because it involves holding people in power accountable. If they have a staff engineer or VP who's accused of sexual assault, firing him or putting him on leave could impact productivity.
Do you know of any alternative systems in place to resolve issues?
Even if Google wanted to form some sort of employee handled board or arbitration to decide how to handle accusations they would still be liable. And that is ignoring messy office politics involved in that sort of empowerment, bad actors, or just flaws of many parajudicial systems.
That companies would still be liable isn't neccessarily a bad thing as otherwise it could be delegated into a bigotted council and violate all sorts of discrimination laws at will. Any innovative system would need to address those issues as well.
They need to hire people that fit their culture better or change their culture to match their people.
This structure like most tools also has a dark use. Not as a "is bad" but "not automatically good". It could be used to perpetuate discrimination as the members don't want those <slurs> working in <their occupation>. As common for bigotry it is not a good move for long term health.
Anyway the sociality seems to be an underemphasised factor to unions. This isn't to say that the non people-to-people jobs should never unionize just that it is especially artifical like say the practice of putting rubber duck covering a fence post point - it is harder to set up and maintain as norm when the first question everyone asks is "Why bother with the duck?"
As far as I am aware there are no serious scientest unions - doctors boards are the closest thing but there are many significant differences.
Obviously the article doesn't tell us anything on the collection methodology, or try to put things in perspective. The reader is free to apply their bias and infer the meaning that suits them the best.
“I reported it up to where my manager knew, my director knew, the coworker’s manager knew and our HR representative knew. Nothing happened. I was warned that things will get very serious if continued,”
So EVERYONE knew and they still disagreed with their point of view. Warned them that accusations without proof like that would get serious. Does that make them evil?
“I whistle blew a colleague who used the N-word in jokes. HR found nothing conclusive”
So HR investigated, found nothing conclusive. What is the alternative? The did their job and arrived to a conclusion. Just because the conclusion did not match the accusation, now Google is evil?
“when I was sexually harassed on my former team by my [team lead] I quickly reported it to my manager. I was told I was ‘overreacting’ and that I should just ‘get over it.’”
Again, this seems to be a subjective stance. Your manager thought you were overreacting, given whatever proof / accusations you provided. Just because he / she did not agree with it, does not mean they are evil.
I was once asked in an HR investigation about a similar accusation where I was present in the room when a coworker was supposed to have said this slur in a joke.
Not only was the word not said, but the actual context of the conversation reported was that the accused party was decrying a public figure for making blatantly racist statements. I made it absolutely clear to HR that nobody in the room would tolerate even the slightest bit of racism -- none of us would find that acceptable in any way.
Certain people have sensitivities such that they will overhear things in passing and then inject words into a conversation that were never said. It's just like that game of telephone we all play as kids that somehow everyone forgets the lessons of by adulthood.
That's my charitable interpretation of the reporter's actions in this circumstance. Given their wild accusations about a recent new hire who is a minority though, I suspect something more nefarious and that HR process might be used as a weapon by an actual racist here.
My point is just that evidence is important and that probably most companies don't want the blowback of letting a known racist get away with it because that sort of thing tends to blow up in public later.
Somewhat offtopic, but a heuristic that I've slowly learned is when people complain about promotion or org shuffles. Google is full of extremely type A people who stop getting signal of success the minute they walk in the door, and "it's been 4 years and no promotion or increase in responsibility!" is absolutely normal, and I've seen people stripped of 10+ person teams regularly and not as a punishment.
In a company the size of google, managers aren't the people that should have an opinion on this matter. What that manager said, assuming this document is valid, is absolutely terrible. Heck, if some manager in my hypothetical company told someone that their report of sexual harassment is an "overreaction" that person wouldn't be manager for long.
Can someone who read it please cite it here?
If a manager knows this person's goals and understands the harassment process and resources involved then they may suggest not reporting. Most of the time its to save themselves but this could be a wise strategy
“I witnessed first hand (and was told second-hand) of several situations where women were being belittled, insulted and ignored”
This text mentions the accusation of 'belittled, insulted and ignored'. But what exactly happened?
It COULD mean a long term pattern of horrific abuse and psychological torment.
But as a Latino working in the US, I've seen first hand other Latinos completely over-react and get defensive in situations which were completely uncalled for.
Someone makes a joke about Mexican food and they feel 'belittled and insulted'. Then because they are so insanely sensitive and tend to take everything personally, other co workers ignore them. To me, that's the logical conclusion of what happens to people with a victim mentality. I'm Latino and feel they were wrong for being sensitive. Am I wrong too?
I say this because as a Latino, I don't want WASPs to feel scared of speaking near me. If that happens, there will be segregation. And I would understand; who wants to be on the defensive all the time? Most groups of co-workers there tends to be hazings and people joke around.
This is not to say there aren't real cases of Latino discrimination, I'm just saying that the wording used in the accusations of the article is extremely vague.
When someone mentions 'sexual harassment', that can mean everything from a long term pattern of physiological torture under duress with physical attacks accompanying it (extreme cases of sexual harassment), to someone being asked out a single time in a less than appropriate manner but with no duress or obligation (maybe a co-worker though there was something and he misinterpreted a single time while drunk at the x-mass party but instantly backed out upon rejection... that too is sexual harassment).
Both of these are 'sexual harassment'. One of them would warrant a VERY strong response. The other... not so much so. I think some people when they read sexual harrasment think one extreme while others think the other. But this only leads to people talking over each other without understanding. Using words with specific and concrete definitions is necessary for communication.
At some point in the last century, words related to victims and attacks became so open ended that it's really hard to understand what is being discussed.
> Someone makes a joke about Mexican food and they feel 'belittled and insulted'. Then because they are so insanely sensitive and tend to take everything personally, other co workers ignore them. To me, that's the logical conclusion of what happens to people with a victim mentality. I'm Latino and feel they were wrong for being sensitive. Am I wrong too?
https://slatestarcodex.com/2017/10/02/different-worlds/ (read it!)
This is a personality difference. Who's wrong depends on the unknowable intentions of the different people you interact with. In a more practical sense, who's wrong depends on who gets better results from their interactional style. You seem to be saying that these other people are suffering penalties for their heightened sensitivity; on that analysis, you're right and they're wrong.
> Both of these are 'sexual harassment'. One of them would warrant a VERY strong response. The other... not so much so. I think some people when they read sexual harrasment think one extreme while others think the other. But this only leads to people talking over each other without understanding. Using words with specific and concrete definitions is necessary for communication.
> At some point in the last century, words related to victims and attacks became so open ended that it's really hard to understand what is being discussed.
These terms are intentionally vague for diplomatic, coalition-building purposes, in the same way that an important treaty between premodern Russia and China was drawn up in Latin, so that the treaty could avoid clearly stating anything that either side didn't want to see in there. Clear communication isn't the goal, it's something that people are actively trying to frustrate.
Compare this discussion from Mary Beard's SPQR:
>> The first word of the second book of Livy's History, which begins the story of Rome after the monarchy, is 'free'; and the words 'free' and 'freedom' are together repeated eight times in the first few lines alone. The idea that the Republic was founded on libertas rings loudly throughout Roman literature...
>> But how was Roman liberty to be defined? That was a controversial question for the next 800 years, through the Republic and into the one-man rule of the Roman Empire when political debate often turned on how far libertas could ever be compatible with autocracy. Whose liberty was at stake? How was it most effectively defended? How could conflicting version of the freedom of the Roman citizen be resolved?
>> All, or most, Romans would have counted themselves as upholders of libertas, just as today most of us uphold 'democracy'. But there were repeated and intense conflicts over what that meant.
Google either doesn't have such a policy or it isn't followed, as shown by the linked article.
I didn't follow Google workplace standards much after that, but my general impression is it continued declining, more management pressure and relatively lower pay/benefits for new workers. Then we started getting leaks from inside Google in 2017 and life at Google has been "miserable" since then. (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20684463)
The only obvious solution is to start firing people; Google has been in growth mode for a long time and managers perform their jobs a lot better when they're worried about themselves. This could happen naturally as a reaction to ad revenue flattening out or maybe Google will shift to a high-turnover culture like Amazon.
While the anecdotal evidence is salacious it's not really useful in determining whether or not they're "evil".
I worked at Google from 2010-2014. Over the summer of 2012 or 2013, I joined an Eve Online "Corporation" (guild) with Liz, and another one of my coworkers. It was a crazy place. Liz had a fanatical hatred of "Rape Jokes". Rape was not a joke to Liz. Rape was a fantasy that Liz was all too happy to describe in great detail. The corporation was "Kink Friendly". I'm embarrassed to say that that was part of the appeal to me - I'm happy to tie my girlfriends up as part of roleplay. Liz's fantasies were a great deal more detailed and a great deal less fantasy oriented than I would like. I left that corporation after a while, though not as quickly as I should have. I was young, I was confused, and based on the success of her "Real Names Considered Harmful" letter, I believed that Liz was a credible, accredited leader.
The same coworker who introduced me to Liz would, several times, invite me to join them for lunch at "Club Z". I declined - Partially because something seemed off, mostly because I was satisfied with the lunches at Google. I would only later find out that "Club Z" is not a lunch place - It's a (rather infamous) Gay Bathhouse here in Seattle.
While I was in that corp, though, I was sexually assaulted by a former friend. About a year I knew and had considered a friend had some out as bi, and had "Confessed their love" to me... by forcefully kissing me at a party. I was embarrassed, I was not interested, and I made it pretty politely clear, to which they reacted badly. Now they had come out as "trans", and received an outpouring of support from mutual friends. Said friends convinced me to give them another chance. At their urging, I agreed to hang out with this friend, at a "Movie Night". A movie night which no-one else showed to. Said former friend pressured me to try weed, which I had never done before. Okay. Red flag. I was dumb, and I regret it. Said friend offered to show me his "Uncle's" stash of Child Pornography. I already suspected they were a pedo, but, yeah. Should have run right then, was drunk. Said "friend" then tried to force himself on me. I am not bigger, but I am strong, and I forced them off. I was also drunk, and spent several uncomfortable hours waiting to sober up, repeatedly fending off unwanted advances.
Anyway: Being dumb, having listened to too much of the bullshit excuses, I went to the only Trans* person I knew to talk about it. Liz. They told me how much I was in the wrong, how important it was for Trans* people to explore their sexuality, and called me a monster for not having responded positively. "What if a biological woman had hit on you?" - The tired old canard was trotted out.
I do not have any direct evidence of wrongdoing by Liz Fong-Jones. I only know that they hang out with, and are supported by, people who were long overdue for censure. People who were repeatedly able to convince others that they were the victims despite their clear aggression.
> This boycott and these comments are being orchestrated by Liz Fong-Jones.
Do you have _any_ evidence for this? The comments seem fairly normal HN to me.
That said, and especially since you end your statement with "I do not have any direct evidence of wrongdoing by [name]", I think it is unfair to name and shame here without evidence. You should remove the name from the story.
When working at google take advantage of their tech stack and stay away from socializing.
Sex prefs shouldn't really be that important. So whatever you did/didn't do or why you wanted fong's approval in the first place shouldn't matter.
besides 2014 was 5 years ago and him
You think the folks that make money off treating the earth like shit want to live in the filth they create?
The ends justify the means right?
Edit: on closer inspection, this account has been using HN primarily for ideological battle and ignored our requests to stop, so I've banned it. If you don't want to be banned, you're welcome to email email@example.com and give us reason to believe that you'll follow the rules in the future.
> years ago where the brainwashing kicked in
Brainwashing is a value judgement, an insult directed at the opposing point of view.
> any normal person anywhere in the world who would honestly tell me this sounds like a well adjusted sane individual who wouldn't in all probability be a human headache for everyone around them?
Wait, actually this whole sentence is just entirely an insult. You've completely dismissed any opposition as 'insane' or 'abnormal' or 'not well adjusted'.
It's not how you engage in rhetoric that invites a response. It's one thing to say, "I disagree with these ideas, like using LatinX, I find it makes my life more challenging. Maybe I'm misunderstanding something." It's another to say that opposing viewpoints are insane.
If you’re not simply gaslighting with the complaint about flags and downvotes I would recommend trying to start afresh with a new username, and approach comments with a logical argument that tries hard to avoid flamebaiting and point scoring.
There’s something to be said for “even Google gets this wrong”, why it is all so hard, and maybe structural issues which guarantee someone will always be aggrieved in the end. Maybe you want argue Google has overcorrected to badly that they have created a whole new kind of hostile workplace.
But the conversation is lost if you want to argue around terms like “wokeness”.
1) A comment talking about being down voted (which is amusing considering your username). This is enough to get a down vote in my book.
2) An immature post. There are numerous signs, including the LOL at the end, that it's immature.
3) Fairly insulting to people who come here.
4) Your original comment is constantly begging the question. The reality is, you aren't interested in a discussion.
5) "I'm just stating an unpopular opinion without any trolling, spam, or personal attacks" No, you aren't "just stating an unpopular opinion" if this keeps happening to you. If this happens to you constantly, it's because you are wrong. Your opinion of your comments is wrong for the community.
nah dude you can downvote me a million times. I'm just asking politely why I'm and other people I see just stating unpopular opinions are being flagged, which is a more serious measure I hoped would be reserved for things a bit less subjective than 'immaturity'. But if it isn't nbd, I just hope to clarify things so everybody knows from now on. I mean its not like theres clear completely nonvague objective rules and spelled out consequences carved in stone in the easiest to find places.
"This is enough to get a down vote in my book. 2) An immature post. There are numerous signs, including the LOL at the end, that it's immature. 3) Fairly insulting to people who come here. 4)"
I've never personally insulted anyone here....as far as I remember. If you mean indirectly than well thats so subjective everybody here indirectly insults someone all the time.
"Your original comment is constantly begging the question. The reality is, you aren't interested in a discussion."
Not true, I am happy to engage anyone who wants to debate me. Like now, my history is open book for you to freely browse, show me something in it clearly refutes this, it actually stands as a clear testament to the opposite. If I am wrong on the hard facts I will acquiese. If you think its pointless well isn't all/most discussion on threads like these pointless?
" 5) "I'm just stating an unpopular opinion without any trolling, spam, or personal attacks" No, you aren't "just stating an unpopular opinion" if this keeps happening to you. If this happens to you constantly, it's because you are wrong. Your opinion of your comments is wrong for the community."
speaking of dismissing arguments.