A gay Black employee at Google’s Los Angeles office is suing the tech giant for discrimination based on his race and sexual orientation, claiming he was physically assaulted and emotionally harassed by a senior manager on Google’s global security team.
David Brown, who is jointly employed by Alphabet Inc., the parent company of Google, and the security company Allied Universal, claims he was repeatedly subjected to on-the-job harassment from 2014 through 2020.
In his lawsuit, filed in state court in Los Angeles, Brown claims the majority of the harassment occurred at the hands of his supervisor, Henry Linares, an account manager at Allied Universal, which provides security services for Google. He is seeking an unspecified amount in damages.
Brown alleges that Linares’ behavior toward him was particularly violent, and involved “grabbing him on the buttocks, kicking him in the groin, throwing him through a window head first and brutally grabbing his nipples.”
Google has since fired Linares, for reasons unrelated to Brown’s allegations, reports Reuters.
In the lawsuit, Brown claims that Rus Rossini, a senior manager for global community operations at Google, was also involved in the harassment, failing to take corrective action against Linares. For example, after some items went missing at Google’s offices, Rossini sent a message to Linares joking that there should be “strip searches for all.”
Linares responded, saying Brown would “love that,” to which Rossini responded: “Tell David to bend over.” Linares then shared the screenshot with Brown, writing, “hahah I’ll tell him you said Hellooo.”
Brown’s attorney, V James DeSimone, told Reuters that his client turned screenshots of the conversation between Rossini and Linares over to human resources, “implicating Rossini in the harassment,” but no action was taken to remedy the situation.
Google has previously received criticism for the way it deals with allegations of harassment, with 2,000 workers for the tech giant signing an open letter claiming that the company has demonstrated a pattern of behavior in which it fails to hold perpetrators accountable for their actions.
“This is a long pattern where Alphabet protects the harasser instead of protecting the person harmed by the harassment. The person who reports harassment is forced to bear the burden, usually leaving Alphabet while their harasser stays or is rewarded for their behavior,” the letter reads.
“Alphabet workers deserve the right to work in an environment free from their abusers. Alphabet must prioritize the safety of their workers by prioritizing the concerns of those harmed.”
Spokespeople for Google, Alphabet Inc. and Allied Universal were not immediately available for comment.
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