By Paresh Dave
(Reuters) – A senior manager on Google’s global security team crudely joked about a company security guard in text messages, part of a pattern of workplace harassment against the gay, Black employee, according to a lawsuit filed by the employee this week.
David Brown, who according to the lawsuit is jointly employed by the Alphabet Inc unit and security company Allied Universal, is seeking unspecified monetary damages for alleged physical and emotional harassment at Google’s Los Angeles offices based on his sexual orientation and race, which it says took place between 2014 and last year.
Google and Allied Universal did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Many major companies including Google last year stepped up efforts to create more inclusive worksites after social protests calling attention to racism. Some workers at Google, including over 2,000 who signed an open letter on the issue in April, have said the company does not sufficiently hold perpetrators accountable.
Brown’s supervisor accounted for much of the alleged problematic behavior, including “grabbing him on the buttocks, kicking him in the groin, throwing him through a window head first and brutally grabbing his nipples,” according to the lawsuit, which was filed in a state court in Los Angeles.
The supervisor, Henry Linares, was fired for other reasons this year, according to the filing. A LinkedIn profile indicates he left Google and Allied Universal in July. He did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
Google’s senior manager for global community operations, Rus Rossini, “participated in the discrimination and sexual harassment and took no corrective action,” the lawsuit further alleges.
During a chat last year about items missing from Google’s offices, which were quiet due to the pandemic, Rossini messaged the supervisor, “Strip searches for all,” according to the lawsuit and a screenshot of the exchange seen by Reuters.
After the supervisor responded that, “David is going to love that,” Rossini followed, “Tell David to bend over.” The supervisor, who shared the screenshot with Brown, responded, “hahah I’ll tell him you said Hellooo.”
Rossini did not immediately respond to a request for comment. He remains employed at Google, according to a LinkedIn profile.
Brown’s attorney V. James DeSimone said Rossini should have addressed the abuse, especially after Brown “turned those screenshots to human resources, implicating Rossini in the harassment.”
(Reporting by Paresh Dave, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien)