Wicca, Transgender Jokes, Sex Discrimination: Google Sued for Civil Rights Violations


Former Google employee James Bara has filed suit against the search giant, citing sexual and religious discrimination in violation of the US Civil Rights Act. Bara alleges that situation began when his supervisor Pam Sohn learned a new employee was transgendered.  Sohn joked frequently about the new hire, Asheligh Rentz, commenting about her sexual preferences to fellow Google employees. Bara told Sohn that the comments were inappropriate, but Sohn did not stop making them until Rentz began working in the office.

After this Bara noticed after this that Sohn was becoming hostile towards him. Sohn made numerous joking references to his faith–Bara is Wiccan–and continued despite Bara’s requests that she stop. According to Bara, Sohn began to give preferential treatment to women in the office, allowing them to work from home, while Bara and other men were required to do all their work in the office.

When Bara complained to Human Resources, Bara claims that Sohn’s actions towards him became increasingly hostile. Despite excellent performance reviews and bonuses, Bara was no longer permitted to conduct off-site training, and he was required to fill out extra paperwork each time he entered the data center. The hostile working environment and comments about his faith continued, including Sohn singing

Ding dong the witch is dead! Which old witch? The wicked witch!

when Bara completed a project, to his

obvious discomfort and disgust.

Despite numerous attempts to resolve the problems, including involving the upper reaches of corporate HR, no progress was made, and Bara was fired.

Google’s response:

After a thorough investigation, we have no reason to believe James Bara was discriminated against or treated unfairly, and we’ll defend ourselves vigorously against these charges. Google values a diverse and respectful workforce and does not tolerate discrimination.

I wonder if Bara did spell work to try to improve his work situation, like a peace in the workspace spell, spells to improve communication, etc. I mean what’s the point of having a faith that emphasizes positive change through magic, if you don’t use the magic part? Granted, Wicca has this whole thng about not influencing the Will of others, but heck, at this point, I’d be doing some legal spell work to resolve the matter in my favor!

3 Responses to "Wicca, Transgender Jokes, Sex Discrimination: Google Sued for Civil Rights Violations"
Phoenix Woman | Thursday November 5, 2009 08:42 am 1

Two words: Threefold Law.

Teddy Partridge | Thursday November 5, 2009 11:54 am 2

Transgender people are the last ni&&ers in America. It’s still entirely acceptable to make jokes at their expense in polite company, on television shows, and at public gatherings. It’s even permitted in the most progressive venues. Our alleged discomforts with their gender identity are, of course, vastly outweighed by the existential questions transgender people face in their lives.

It’s almost impossible to imagine being transgender. That impossibility should help us be compassionate: ponder for just a moment having that unimaginable conflict between being and presentation at the core of your existence. Then tell me these folks have it easy. It’s one of the toughest kinds of humans to be.

I hope more honesty and acceptance lies ahead. The struggle transgender people face is still so huge. Role models like Chaz Bono will help. But until then, America must provide civil protections in housing, the workplace, and the law to everyone.

GregoriusU | Thursday November 5, 2009 03:11 pm 3

Once a company reaches the size where its founders can no longer greet each employee by name, it should go without saying that new employees do not necessarily care about the founders’ ideals. The first generation at Google believed whole-heartedly in the slogan “Don’t be evil.” Since then, they’ve gotten a LOT more employees, a lot of whom could care less about not being evil, and many of those are in power- and decision-making positions. When my blog HAIL DUBYUS! http://haildubyus.com/ started running into Google actions to marginalize its presence (it’s a cartoon blog, was very critical of Bush/Cheney before it became fashionable, and one day 90% of my back cartoons were eliminated from the image database), people treated me like I was crazy for thinking that this wasn’t just some glitch because “Google doesn’t censor” and its motto is “Don’t be evil.” I have no doubt that there is religious and gender-sensitive discrimination at Google because that’s the way it is ALL over US companies. Google is just another one of them and as long as no one complains, “acceptable” prejudices, like making fun of marginalized religions or gender-altered individuals, will be ignored or “winked at” because from the second-generation on, the new higher-ups JUST DON’T CARE. It’s time to take down the “Don’t Be Evil” sign and put up one that says, “We’re only in it for the money.” Good luck on the suit.

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