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YouTube Hiring For Some Positions Excluded White and Asian Men, Lawsuit Says (theverge.com) 448

Kirsten Grind and Douglas MacMillan report via The Wall Street Journal (Warning: source may be paywalled; alternative source): YouTube last year stopped hiring white and Asian males for technical positions because they didn't help the world's largest video site achieve its goals for improving diversity, according to a civil lawsuit filed by a former employee. The lawsuit, filed by Arne Wilberg, a white male who worked at Google for nine years, including four years as a recruiter at YouTube, alleges the division of Alphabet's Google set quotas for hiring minorities. Last spring, YouTube recruiters were allegedly instructed to cancel interviews with applicants who weren't female, black or Hispanic, and to "purge entirely" the applications of people who didn't fit those categories, the lawsuit claims.

A Google spokeswoman said the company will vigorously defend itself in the lawsuit. "We have a clear policy to hire candidates based on their merit, not their identity," she said in a statement. "At the same time, we unapologetically try to find a diverse pool of qualified candidates for open roles, as this helps us hire the best people, improve our culture, and build better products." People familiar with YouTube's and Google's hiring practices in interviews corroborated some of the lawsuit's allegations, including the hiring freeze of white and Asian technical employees, and YouTube's use of quotas.

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YouTube Hiring For Some Positions Excluded White and Asian Men, Lawsuit Says

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  • Easy Solution (Score:4, Insightful)

    by alvinrod ( 889928 ) on Sunday March 04, 2018 @12:16PM (#56205659)
    Here's the easy solution to this problem. Don't include information on race, gender, etc. on employment applications and you don't have to worry about excluding people because HR or hiring personnel are bigoted, whether actively or unconsciously. If it gets the point of the interview and you've still got people being biased or discriminatory, then you've got bigger problems because at that point there's no excuse for falling back on some preconceived notions as everyone who makes it there should be qualified to work at your company or your screening process sucks.

    Anything else is going to create a perception of unfairness regardless of what kind of noble intentions you might have. One thing that always astounds me is that the people who constantly bang on about white or male privilege and how that provides unfair benefits for some always seem to want to enact policy that enshrines unfairness as a fundamental concept. If you think that unfair treatment results in people being dissatisfied or outright disgruntled, then why the hell would you think that actively creating unfair conditions wouldn't result in the same conditions. To some degree I think this is partially (among a great many other things) responsible for the rise in what's been called the alt-right and has played a part in why someone like Trump was able to win the election.
    • Re:Easy Solution (Score:5, Insightful)

      by 140Mandak262Jamuna ( 970587 ) on Sunday March 04, 2018 @12:30PM (#56205733) Journal
      It wont work.

      The accusation is, the general American population is 78% white, 12% black, 10% Hispanic, 2% Asian, 2% Arab, x% Jewish, 51% female. If your work force does not have the same percentages you are discriminating.

      Instead of general population as the criterion, if you use STEM graduates of the top 100 or 200 US colleges, the percentages might not look so terrible for Google. If Google could say, "our workforce reflects the talent pool we recruit from" and that argument is accepted it would be good.

      Google is not making that argument, "the population of top grads from top schools differs significantly from the general population. What can we do?".

      The reason is, this argument has been used in the past to actively discriminate against the minorities. So it does not carry much weight among the general public. So Google is in this no-win situation.

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        The accusation is, the general American population is 78% white, 12% black, 10% Hispanic, 2% Asian, 2% Arab, x% Jewish, 51% female. If your work force does not have the same percentages you are discriminating.

        No, I've never heard anyone seriously claim that. The only time it's used is as a straw man to avoid addressing the actual argument, which is that there are wide ranging systemic issues and companies should do their bit to address that.

        • If not that, then what should the number of black, female, etc. employees in software development be? You can't argue that it's too low or that the numbers are an indication of systemic issues if you don't have some expected value. One could make a similar argument with just as much support (that is to say very little) that the number of those groups employed is too high.

          I also don't see how Google, Amazon, or any other company is in a position to address societal issues that are far removed from their c
          • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

            It's not that difficult to understand. It's about equality of opportunity, and from that the numbers will reach some kind of natural equilibrium that is close to the numbers in the wider population.

            You don't need the numbers to show that there are issues. You only need to identify the issues themselves.

            • by elrous0 ( 869638 )

              Sorry, but equality of *opportunity* doesn't guarantee that reality will to conform to your beliefs. For that, you need equality of *outcomes*.

          • by Zalbik ( 308903 )

            If not that, then what should the number of black, female, etc. employees in software development be?

            Quoting from a comment above:
            "Instead of general population as the criterion, if you use STEM graduates of the top 100 or 200 US colleges, the percentages might not look so terrible for Google. If Google could say, "our workforce reflects the talent pool we recruit from" and that argument is accepted it would be good."

            That's exactly the criterion that should be used. The question of whether racial minoriti

        • If you haven't heard it, you haven't been listening. The government routinely argues discriminatory lending cases on just such a basis.
          • by Zalbik ( 308903 )

            If you haven't heard it, you haven't been listening. The government routinely argues discriminatory lending cases on just such a basis.

            Then it should be trivial for you to provide evidence of this claim. I'll wait...

        • by MikeMo ( 521697 )
          What are these "wide-ranging, systemic issues" you speak of? Please enumerate. That would help solve the problem.

          What do you think companies should do to address these issues, specifically. Please state how each of these suggestions will actually alleviate one of the "wide ranging systemic issues". Thanks.
      • I don't believe that even if you assume that a given labor force must match gender and racial demographics that any one business that fails to meet those criteria must be biased. If you were to assume that, you'd also have to argue that the NBA is horribly biased as they have a disproportionate number of black athletes relative to the population of the U.S. and no women at all. There are plenty of other professions where the numbers are similarly slanted such as the petroleum industry, nursing, commercial f
        • There are plenty of other professions where the numbers are similarly slanted

          You can't say that. The acceptable term is "epicanthically endowed".

      • by Jhon ( 241832 )

        "The accusation is, the general American population is 78% white, 12% black, 10% Hispanic, 2% Asian, 2% Arab, x% Jewish, 51% female. If your work force does not have the same percentages you are discriminating."

        Actually, the numbers are more like "73% white (including Hispanic) 12% blank, Asian 5%, 5% "other" and about 3% two more more mixed race.

        White non-hispanics are actually in the very low 60% range. In CA, white non-hispanics are in the mid 40% range. Births in CA of Hispanics are out pacing white n

      • When I started in CS in college, there was a fair representation of women. It may not have been exactly 50%, more like 30-40%, but they certainly were not rare. Fast forward a few decades and women are rare in engineering and R&D, even more so in IT. Biology did not change, this decline is absolutely due to people and sociology, not because women are not suited to the fields or that they're inherently not interested.

        Anyone who thinks this is the natural way things should be today is deluded, probably

      • Most of these anti-discrimination issues are very problematic from a policy level.

        Even simple things. Remember a little while back people made a fuss about H&M using a black child for a tshirt that said 'monkey'.

        Now think about it from a company perspective.
        It's possible, someone was cheeky racist. It's also possible, the kid just happens to be black.

        Either-way, what do you think the corporate policy could be to avoid such issues? Possibly something along the lines of.

        "If an item contains 'monkey' in th

      • by Zalbik ( 308903 )

        It wont work.

        The accusation is, the general American population is 78% white, 12% black, 10% Hispanic, 2% Asian, 2% Arab, x% Jewish, 51% female. If your work force does not have the same percentages you are discriminating.

        Says who? I have never seen anything remotely like that used as a legal argument. Do you have evidence for this assertion?

      • by Trogre ( 513942 )

        The accusation is, the general American population is 78% white, 12% black, 10% Hispanic, 2% Asian, 2% Arab, x% Jewish, 51% female. If your work force does not have the same percentages you are discriminating.

        Which is only true if the talent pool you are drawing from has the exact same proportions.

      • by Cederic ( 9623 )

        The accusation is, the general American population is 78% white, 12% black, 10% Hispanic, 2% Asian, 2% Arab, x% Jewish, 51% female. If your work force does not have the same percentages you are discriminating.

        Of course, this is made even more comical because only 60% of the people working for Google are white.

        So they're not only discriminating against white people, but the very justification for doing so merely further demonstrates their racism.

    • by sycodon ( 149926 )

      The Diversity Overlords will never acquiesce to having their primary cudgel taken away from them.

    • Don't include information on race, gender, etc. on employment applications and you don't have to worry about excluding people because HR or hiring personnel are bigoted, whether actively or unconsciously.

      It is necessary for HR and hiring personnel to be bigoted . . . otherwise diversity cannot be achieved.

      Diversity is necessary for folks who cannot compete in a system based on equality.

      Diversity means that some people need to be treated "more equal" than others.

      I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.

      That won't happen in a country ruled by diversity policies.

    • Yeah I know right! Changing the colour of your skin is trivial for the job interview.

      If it gets the point of the interview

      Ok you addressed it, but you don't seem to see the point. These are policies enacted by high-ups. The interview is irrelevant in the face of policy. They aren't looking for the best technical candidate in the first cut, and they aren't looking for them in the interview either.

    • Here's the easy solution to this problem. Don't include information on race, gender, etc. on employment applications and you don't have to worry about excluding people

      I think there is an even easier solution: encourage and even force Google and YouTube to live by the principles they advocate and support politically. Let them blacklist all white and Asian males in their hiring process and then let's see how well their business does with those kinds of policies in place.

      Perhaps Eric Schmid and Sundar Pichai c

    • Here's the easy solution to this problem. Don't include information on race, gender, etc. on employment applications and you don't have to worry about excluding people because HR or hiring personnel are bigoted, whether actively or unconsciously.

      Sounds easy at first but impossible in practice.

      Imagine an applicant fresh from college. The resume collection system removes the name and gender of the applicant and replaces it with a numeric identifier. Instead of "Jennifer Jones" it puts, "Applicant 79876". There are still schools that accept only men or women, if the applicant attended one of these schools then how can that be hidden? Is any mention of the name of the school removed? The college that people attended is important as some schools ha

    • It seems to me that people implementing racially discriminatory hiring practices should avoid using words like "purge" in emails. Note to Google HR: you might also want to watch your use of words and phrases like "cleanse", "purify", "rats", "vermin", "final solution" and the like. When used in that context, people tend to take them the wrong way.
    • It's interesting to note that music schools and orchestras have regularly used blind auditions [theguardian.com] since the 1980s and 1990s. The applicant sits behind a curtain during their music audition, so the judges can only hear the music, not see the person.

      One thing that always astounds me is that the people who constantly bang on about white or male privilege and how that provides unfair benefits for some always seem to want to enact policy that enshrines unfairness as a fundamental concept. If you think that unfair

      • People state you can't prove a negative all the time it is simply not true. Proof by contradiction is proving a negative. You assume something show that something leads to contradiction, therefore you have proved the original statement is false.

        In your reindeer cannot fly the problem is not the negative but you there exists at no reindeer that can fly. In your positive example just because you showed n reindeer could fly doesn't prove all reindeer can fly. You could prove not all reindeer can fly.

        Me being p

    • Have to exclude names too. Otherwise minority sounding names like Jose, Lakeshiea, or Lee will get excluded still.

    • Here's the easy solution to this problem.

      For every problem, there is a solution which is easy, simple and wrong. So, let's see...

      Don't include information on race, gender, etc. on employment applications

      aaaand herre we go. That works as long as there is no public information about you. If you have anything relating to a public profile, like publications, presence at conferences, positions on standards bodies, patents and so on and so forth, then that information is out there.

      Not only is it out there, it's

    • by elrous0 ( 869638 )

      Don't include information on race, gender, etc. on employment applications and you don't have to worry about excluding people because HR or hiring personnel are bigoted, whether actively or unconsciously.

      Yeah, good luck on that when you've got 1,000 SJW groups breathing down your neck for not hiring more minorities and women. You have to understand that, above all else, SJW's want reality to conform to their beliefs. And chief among those is the belief that, without discrimination, woman and minorities will always be proportionately represented to the overall population in every job (well, all the GOOD jobs, anyway--they don't give a shit about the crappy jobs). Therefore, if your workplace pays well and is

    • by LWATCDR ( 28044 )

      And for the interview process?

    • by geoskd ( 321194 )

      People don't want fairness. People want blatant unfairness in their favor. Given the opportunity, they will create exactly that situation.

      People will accept fairness as a far distant second option to systemic bias in their favor, but only when it is 100% apparent that they will never be able to swing the unfairness in their own favor.

      This is economic Darwinism at its finest; brought to you by every economic model ever attempted.

  • Racism (Score:2, Insightful)

    by TheCount22 ( 952106 )

    I think this has gone too far. Fighting for equality of opportunities is one thing but being racist to achieve it is another.

    Reverse racism is simply racism it doesn't matter what group in targeted. Social justice isn't justice. Feminism is not about equality anymore it doesn't care about other genders it's only about women. People fought long hard against racism and inequality. The last thing we need is to find new victims (ie. Men, Caucasians and Asians this time around) .

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      The lawsuit is quite interesting: https://www.scribd.com/documen... [scribd.com]

      It seems that Wilberg raised concerns about the hiring practices that his manager had introduced, along with other employees. For example, a black woman complained that she was only ever being asked to interview black candidates, which seems to be to make up a numerical requirement. If the claims here are to be believed then the hiring manager was incompetent and trying to cover it up with quotas.

      Google's HR sanctioned the manager and put a

      • by djinn6 ( 1868030 )

        Google's HR sanctioned the manager and put a stop to the quotas. That may well save them from the discrimination claims, because the fixed it when it was reported.

        I wouldn't call that "fixed". They moved the manager to another role (still employed and still on the same team), and they did not stop with the quotas. Yes, they tried to delete internal references to it, but they also created a new team that only had diversity quotas. Besides, they still had the recruiter's performance review tied to the number of diversity hires and not the number of total hires.

        Of course at this stage it's all allegations, but discovery should reveal whether those can be substantiate

    • People ignored the old victims. Fingers in their ears, believing racism was a thing of the past or that the way things are is the way they should be. Now suddenly when it's their group being discriminated against, they notice it and it makes front page news.

  • by Kohath ( 38547 ) on Sunday March 04, 2018 @12:30PM (#56205741)

    I think we can all agree that Google and YouTube probably did this. If they didn’t do this exactly, they're basically saying they'd like to do it if they could get away with it.

    All applicants to Google and YouTube should say they "identify" as a lesbian refugee from Honduras named "Sofia Espinoza". After you're hired, you can say you had an epiphany and you now "identify" as who you were born as. You can change it back to Sofia the week before performance reviews. If they doubt you, call them racist and transphobic.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      The actual lawsuit says it was one bad manager doing it, and when HR found out they shut it down.

      The complaint is rather long but worth reading.

  • Lawsuit Says YouTube Hiring For Some Positions Excluded White and Asian Men.

    vs

    YouTube Hiring For Some Positions Excluded White and Asian Men, Lawsuit Says .

  • We have a clear policy to hire candidates based on their merit, not their identity. At the same time, we unapologetically try to find a diverse pool of qualified candidates for open roles

    Similarly, everything before “At the same time” is bull.

    • You should want diversity in the work place. So don't throw away resumes based on race or gender or other protected classes. Treat them the same, even if you don't like their accent or color, look at the resume. If two people are equal, why always choose the white male? But...

      I know companies don't hire only on merit. When I see only the smartest women get hired but tons of mediocre or incompetent white men are in the workforce, in all departments, then hiring is not being done on merit. When a minority

  • I'm a gay immigrant. I decided long ago that I don't want to work for companies that want to discriminate against me, and I'm not going to use nondiscrimination laws to force them too. Why would I want to work for a homophobic or xenophobic company? Why would I want to help them succeed in business?

    The same is also true for YouTube and Google. They might make an exception for a nominally white male if he is gay and an immigrant like me, but I am not going to make an exception for them.

  • Another person born on second base blames others when he can simply walk to third

  • by theodp ( 442580 ) on Sunday March 04, 2018 @01:19PM (#56205981)

    A Google-CodeCademy award program [archive.org] offered $1,000 bonuses to teachers who got 10 or more high school kids to take a JavaScript course, but only counted students from "groups traditionally underrepresented in computer science (girls, or boys who identify as African American, Latino, American Indian or Alaska Native)."

    • "Identify as"? That's great news, since you don't have to technically be a group to identify as that group anymore.
  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna ( 970587 ) on Sunday March 04, 2018 @02:19PM (#56206263) Journal
    Minorities, Behold! This is what success looks like Asians were not allowed to become citizens till recently, 1960s. Hundreds of thousands of Chinese who came to California during the gold rush were harassed, and their better claims were usurped, they were relegated to working on less productive claims, they were paid less for their gold, and when the gold rush ended they were mostly chased out of the country.

    In 1906 an Indian man named Bhagat Singh Thinde made the crazy argument that he was White, (He argued he was from a high caste, despised low caste people, had enough prejudice in him to qualify as White. No one was offended by that argument, but Judge Sutherland, SCOTUS, ruled that he was Caucasian but not white ;-)).

    They worked steadily, played by the rules of the game, concentrated on getting ahead personally. No long marches demanding equality, no serious law suits alleging discrimination, ... Over the years they are punching 10 times their weight. 2% of the general population, 20% of top STEM grads, 20% of Intel scholarships and 99% of top spelling bee and 85% of top geography bee ...

    Yes, they had to much better than general population to get there. Asian kids need to score 150 points more than the White kids in SAT to get into the top colleges. Yes, the average Asian kid is suffering and is in stress because the expectation is set so high by the other Asian kids. But these are the problems of success, ....

    I do hear complaints of discrimination among my friends, but it is more like to be something like, "I am the senior most nephrologist with much better publication record and I should have been named the head, but they gave the post to some White Guy. Anyway chairmanship involves mostly talking to the donors and getting projects from the pharma companies, so I don't care"... sour grape syndrome?

  • We all know they do this. They all but admit it, that is when they aren't being sued for it.

    It's a modern form of mass hysteria.

  • People should remember that Google is not a single entity. it is a huge company with branches all over the place. While the corporate types may dream of unified policies, it is entirely possible that some parts of Google are run by extreme progressives (i.e., no whites or asians need apply), while other parts may be dominated by a different atmosphere.

    The bottom line should be: hire people based on their capabilities, not their plumbing, eye color, or other irrelevant characteristics. If it turns out that c

    • by ghoul ( 157158 )

      Youtube is the brain dead part of Google. It is not very high level work so its the perfect place to dump your affrimative hire quotas for the entire company.

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