Alphabet must add caste as a protected category and address caste-based harms in its workplace


June 06, 2022 at 3pm ET

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Alphabet Workers Union - Communication Workers of America stands in support of Thenmozhi Soundararajan (Dalit civil-rights scholar and executive director of Equality Labs) and Tanuja Gupta (senior PgM at Google). Thenmozhi Soundararajan was deplatformed by discriminatory and casteist disinformation at Alphabet, and Tanuja Gupta was retaliated against (leading to her resignation) for wanting to further the cause of caste equity at the workplace. 

Caste-oppressed workers face many barriers throughout the tech industry, including at Alphabet. Caste is a system of oppression and is rampant throughout many American institutions. According to Equality Labs research, two out of three caste-oppressed workers face caste discrimination. 

Now, tech workers around the world are speaking up about casteism and hostile workplaces. Despite these calls to end discrimination, Alphabet has created a hostile work environment for caste-oppressed workers and allies. In an email to over 15,000 Alphabet workers, Gupta shared a disturbing series of events that led to her leaving the company. As reported in the Washington Post, Gupta said “Retaliation is a normalized Google practice to handle internal criticism, and women take the hit.” Alphabet not only failed its civil rights obligations to create a safe workplace, but also chose to target women of color leaders like Tanuja and Thenmozhi instead of addressing its caste discrimination problem. 

Alphabet’s anti-discrimination policy in India already explicitly prohibits caste-based discrimination, but that policy doesn’t apply in the US. The US Equal Opportunity Employment statement in Alphabet’s code of conduct doesn’t list caste as a protected class. This is why in the wake of the CISCO case, we had asked for Alphabet to add caste as a protected category.

As this crisis deepens, we demand that Alphabet managment stop harming its workers and immediately address the issue of caste head on by:

We are Alphabet Workers who stand united.

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