Former Google employee Kevin Cernekee, a conservative Republican, is blowing the whistle on Google for what he says is an anti-conservative environment.
In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Cernekee insists that there’s a toxic environment of bullying permeating the tech giant’s business.
What are the allegations?
Cernekee, 41, says he was working just a few months for the company in 2015 when he ruffled the feathers of some employees with differing viewpoints.
According to the outlet, Cernekee made “several posts on the company’s freewheeling internal message boards” and was disciplined for them. The official warning referred to Cernekee’s “conduct,” which was deemed “disrespectful and insubordinate.” The outlet also reported that a senior manager added Cernekee to a company “written blacklist” of people he would not work with inside the company.
Cernekee’s next three years were also reportedly rife with pushback, over which he blames on the company’s ultra-liberal environment.
Cernekee’s tenure with the Mountain View, California-based Google ended in June 2018. The company insisted that Cernekee’s employment was terminated because of his “misuse of equipment including its remote-access software system,” according to his termination letter.
Cernekee denies such misconduct. Instead, Cernekee believes that he lost his job because he is an outspoken conservative, the Journal reported.
“Historically, there’s been a lot of bullying at Google,” Cernekee told the outlet. “There’s a big political angle, and they treat the two sides very differently.”
Cernekee also revealed that he was once a party to a rather disturbing incident on one of the company’s internal message boards. The former Google employee said that he “stood up for a colleague” who publicly suggested that the company not consider race or gender in hiring decisions during a conversation on the board.
“A bunch of people jumped on him and started cussing him out and calling him names,” Cernekee said. “And then his manager showed up in the thread and denounced him in public. I was very disturbed by that.”
What has Google said?
Jenn Kaiser, a spokesperson for the company, insisted that employees’ political view points do not dictate or impact internal policies.
“We enforce our workplace policies without regard to political viewpoint,” Kaiser told the Journal.
So what’s he doing now?
Cernekee has reportedly filed complaints with the National Labor Relations Board with regard to his time at Google. Just one of the complaints has been accepted at the time of his writing — the rest have been denied.
Cernekee has also reportedly spent more than $100,000 in legal fees, according to the outlet.
“I very much regret joining Google,” he told the Journal. “I figured it would be a good place to see intelligent arguments through. It didn’t really turn out how I expected.”
Cernekee was also a former colleague of James Damore, a former Google software engineer.
In 2017, Damore lost his job after posting an internal memorandum that later went public. The memo suggested that men were biologically predisposed to perform more effectively in technology jobs when compared to women. Damore’s memo also noted that Google as an entity was intolerant to varying points of view.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai publicly denounced Damore’s memo at the time, calling the former software engineer’s sentiments “offensive” and “not OK.”
Damore has since sued the company for discrimination.