Google tells harassment victims to take “medical leave,” report finds

Sunset, over the Google empire.

Enlarge / Sunset, over the Google empire. (credit: 400tmax | Getty Images)

A new report alleges that Google employees who report experiencing gender or racial harassment or discrimination routinely are told to take “medical leave” and seek mental health treatment—only to be shoved aside when they try to come back.

Nearly a dozen current and former Google employees told NBC News that company HR officials told them to seek mental health treatment or take medical leave “after colleagues made comments about their skin color or Black hairstyles, or asked if they were sexually interested in their teammates.” Another dozen current and former Google employees told NBC the practice is common within the company.

“I can think of 10 people that I know of in the last year that have gone on mental health leave because of the way they were treated,” one former Google employee told NBC News. He himself had taken medical leave “after he said he had numerous unproductive conversations with human resources about how his colleagues discussed race.”

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