Just as Facebook announces Roy Austin, Jr. as their new VP of Civil Rights, the current conversation is the future of tech companies and their dark cloud, pun intended. Some say the move was to side track the mounds of civil suits they have against them from former employees who swear by their claims of being silenced, punished, ousted and treated unfairly by the social media giant.
Anastasia Talton, Facebooks former diversity recruiter said she was hired to fill the gap in their troubled workforce by targeting and hiring top talent from all diverse backgrounds. She states Facebook would look for something to disqualify numerous people of color from even a possibility of employment just to meet target interview quotas. The silencing she faced came after she raised a flag about several disqualification to candidates she knew were qualified for the position but we ousted without reason. Her treatment following the whistle-blowing she claims included being excluded in meetings, ignored during celebratory corporate milestones, left out of email discussions and other mistreatment there on site at Facebooks Bay Area headquarters in Palo Alto, CA.
Talton, who is also disabled, experienced what so many other people of color have complained about in the culture of Big tech. "Most of the time Blacks and other people of color experiencing mistreatment in these organizations, they will not report it" says Talton. The fact that "roughly six-in-ten" Blacks in tech or other STEM related concentrations say they experienced racial or ethnic discrimination is alarming. This according to PEW Research Center who conducted surveys related to discrimination in pay, advances in careers, promotion opportunities and fair treatment.
Many organizations begin to put in work by examining their corporate practices and how they influence corporate culture, but to many corporations looking from the top down is a difficult task. The result of ignoring that biases actually exist is the invitation to a mound of legal issues. An emotionally hurt Talton begin to realize human resources was not there to support or stop the mistreatment, she went and sought legal council and eventually settled out of court.
The firing of Timnit Gebru also spoke volumes on how Google, much like other tech companies shun diverse talent and how the possibility of being lead into a removal from your job at one is possible if for any reason you conflict the interest of speaking up. Talton expressed an initiative she is beginning that will encourage fair hiring practices and recruiting on campuses, she named her initiative "Black Talent Matters" under her Meraki talent consulting firm as a result of her experience in tech and other recruiting areas.
The reality is, as mentioned previously, the majority cases of mistreatment in tech is not reported and publicized so its hard to tell exactly how much worse the situation is in big tech. What's obvious is that in 2021, companies can not say that they are blindsided by accounts in their organizations when situations of unfair treatment continue to be broadcasted seemingly every month about the same atrocities causing many persons of color who see or experiencing it to second guess their belonging in such industry.