Google’s Employee-Run Email List Helps Workers Anonymously Submit Bias and Harassment Complaints

Google. Photo: Jefferson Siegel/NY Daily News via Getty Images

Some companies have ethics hotlines for employees to register harassment and bias complaints, while others encourage workers to go to human resources if they’ve witnessed harassment or discrimination. But at Google, a group of employees has taken a different approach: They’ve created an employee-run email newsletter to collect anonymous allegations, and nearly 20 percent of the company’s workforce is subscribed, Bloomberg reports.

As Bloomberg reports, more than 15,000 employees of Google and its parent company, Alphabet Inc., are part of a weekly email list called “Yes, at Google,” which started in October. The list is a grassroots effort to collect and track allegations of inappropriate behavior at the company, and it’s being run by unnamed workers across different product areas. Google management is aware that the list exists, though they don’t “control or influence” the emails’ content. Bloomberg notes that the people in the complaints are usually not identified by name, though job titles and other details are occasionally included.

For instance, a recent “Yes, at Google” email from May included a complaint against a HR manager who allegedly joked “about raping one of his direct reports” before getting promoted, and another claimed that “a colleague started a meeting off by making a joke that called a woman in the adjacent meeting room ‘some random bitch,’” according to Bloomberg. Another person alleged that a new employee was told by an engineer that she was expected to “‘sleep with everyone’ because that’s the culture here,” while another lodged a complaint to explain why certain jokes made in the office are offensive to others.

Google is currently under investigation by the Department of Labor for allegedly drastically underpaying its female employees — an allegation Google denies — while the tech industry on the whole has faced allegations of lacking racial and gender diversity. According to Bloomberg, the email list’s title is meant to show that, yes, unfair treatment happens at Google. With the newsletter, Google employees are seemingly trying to push for change, while Google executives have “touted the list internally as a way that Google is trying to make its workplace welcome to all kinds of employees,” Bloomberg reports.

Google Employee-Run Email Lets Workers Submit Complaints