A former white, male director at Google sued the company for sexual harassment and job bias after he was fired for, “not being inclusive enough in his leadership position.” Ryan Olohan, who worked as a director of food, beverage, and restaurants for Google, LLC, claimed that he experienced retaliation in his position after rejecting a female colleague’s sexual advances. He filed a federal lawsuit in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York against the woman and Google in November.
However, Olohan’s lawsuit isn’t the only recent claim filed against the tech giant. In fact, Google was also slapped with a proposed class action lawsuit against the company for systemic bias against black employees.
Mr. Olohan specifically alleged that whilst at a 2019 company dinner, his female colleague groped him at the table. The suit states that the woman “rubbed his stomach and told him he had a nice body.” The woman, who is Asian, also told Olohan that she knew he liked Asian women – referring to Olohan’s wife who is also Asian. The harasser was also alleged to have commented that her own marriage lacked “spice.”
Mr. Olohan’s claims cited excessive alcohol being present at the times of his harasser’s advances. The same woman made another alleged drunk pass at Olohan at an off-site event at a karaoke bar in April 2022.
Although Olohan reported the incidents to human resources, the suit states that leadership at Google never conducted an investigation into his claims. The suit also recounts that an HR representative told Olohan that a complaint like his would be escalated “if it were in reverse.”
Furthermore, the lawsuit alleged that the woman retaliated against Olohan for his rejecting her sexual advances. The suit claims that she went as far as encouraging employees to make unsubstantiated complaints to HR that Olohan was not “inclusive” in his planning of team events. Olohan also adds that he was falsely accused of making microaggressions toward the woman; the women allegedly berated Olohan in front of numerous other employees while in a drunken state, though she later apologized.
Olohan was fired in August for “not being inclusive.” The suit states that a Google Vice President said Olohan’s team had “too many white guys,” and that Olohan was “strongly encouraged” to hire only female applicants.
Whilst enduring the alleged retaliation for his rejection of the colleagues sexual advances, Mr. Olohan disclosed his negative experiences with the company’s HR department. Claims of sexual harassment are meant to be investigated, or at least addressed, by department leadership. The formal record of Mr. Olohan’s suffering at the time will aid in his case attempting to prove that he was neglected due to his gender.