March 21, 2023

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A former Google employee is suing the Technology company claiming he was fired in retaliation for refusing another employee’s sexual advances and for not being “inclusive” in his team hiring.

Ryan Olohan, who worked in Manhattan for Google, filed suit in federal court alleging sexual harassment, gender discrimination, race discrimination, and retaliation in violation of New York state and city human rights laws.

Olohan is a former managing director at Google, where he began working in 2007. According to his complaint, Olohan excelled in his role, received positive performance reviews and was promoted numerous times. He received several Google management awards.

According to his complaint, in December 2019, during a company dinner, a female member of the management team approached Olohan and “rubbed his stomach,” while commenting that he had “such a nice body,” that he was handsome, that her marriage lacked “spice,” and that “she knew he liked Asian women” like her. She appeared to be intoxicated. The complaint says she knew that Olohan’s wife is Asian.

Olohan says the Human Resources person he went to with his complaint “openly admitted” that if the complaint was “in reverse” — a female accusing a White male of harassment — that the “complaint would certainly be escalated.” Google conducted no investigation and his alleged harasser faced no formal repercussions, according to the complaint.

Following his reporting of the incident to Human Resources, Olohan alleges that the woman began to retaliate against him by criticizing him to other coworkers and complaining to Human Resources on at least two occasions about alleged “microaggressions” from Olohan.

At another offsite event, the woman again said that she knew he preferred Asian women to White women and berated Olohan in front of other Google employees. Olohan’s coworkers witnessed the harassment but Google again took no action, he claims.

In December 2021, Olohan says the woman drunkenly rebuked him at a table in front of numerous Google employees, loudly telling Olohan that she “disagreed with him 70% of the time” and “did not like him 70% of the time.” Google Human Resources members later apologized to him for her behavior and the woman also apologized and admitted that she was “very drunk.”

Olohan alleges that Human Resources knew that the woman’s inappropriate behavior and continued harassment of him stemmed from his rejection of her sexual advances, but it took no action.

The complaint also alleges that in further retaliation against Olohan, the woman encouraged another Google employee to complain that Olohan was not “inclusive” in his planning an offsite event for his management team, even though the event plans were twice approved by Human Resources. This other employee told Olohan that there were “obviously too many white guys” on the the management team, according to the complaint.

In June 2022, Olohan was informed that an employee had complained to Human Resources about him. Olohan informed Human Resources that the complaint was made in retaliation for his refusing her sexual advances.

He says Human Resources then “strongly encouraged” him to hire only female applicants for an open management position on his team and encouraged him to terminate the employment of a male team member and to replace him with a female hire.

On August 5, 2022, during a call, Olohan was informed that his employment had been terminated because he was not “inclusive.” Google’s Employee Investigations team explained that he had “shown favoritism” towards high performers, which it considered ‘non-inclusive,” and that he commented on employees’ walking pace and hustle, which it considered “ableist.”

Olohan is seeking damages for economic harm and emotional distress as well as punitive damages.

Insurance Journal reached out to Google for comment but had not heard back by press time.


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