A married, 48-year-old New Jersey father of seven is suing Google, claiming he was fired after rejecting the unwanted sexual advances of a senior female director at the company.
Ryan Olohan’s suit alleges that he was not only molested by his coworker, but that the company subsequently downplayed his concerns both about the incident and the rejected woman’s alleged retaliation, in part because he is a white male.
Searching for accountability
Ryan Olohan worked at the company for 16 years until his termination on Aug. 5, 2022. His new lawsuit notes that a Google Employee Investigations Team chalked up his exit to a failure to be “inclusive” and to showing “favoritism towards high performers.”
Apparently Olohan’s favoritism did not extend to Tiffany Miller, director of Google’s programmatic media and agency partnerships.
According to the suit, which names Miller and Google as defendants, Miller drunkenly molested Olohan at a New York City restaurant in December 2019 during an event hosted by Adam Stewart, vice president of consumer, government, and entertainment at Google.
“At the dinner, Miller approached Olohan and rubbed his stomach,” says the court documents. “While rubbing his stomach, Miller told Olohan that he had ‘such a nice body.'”
Miller is alleged to have made additional advances, suggesting that her marriage “lacked ‘spice'” and that she knew Olohan liked Asian women, since he is married to an Asian woman.
The documents claim Olohan — made “extremely uncomfortable” by Miller’s unsolicited and undesired touching and advances — “immediately removed himself from the situation.”
While Olohan did not immediately raise alarm over the incident, given that his colleague was supposedly “drinking alcohol excessively” at the party, he later engaged coworkers who explained that Miller’s behavior was “Tiffany just being Tiffany.”
Olohan’s suit indicates he ultimately reported the incident to a Google human resources representative, who allegedly admitted “that if the complaint was ‘in reverse’ — a female accusing a White male of harassment — that the complaint would certainly be escalated.”
However, this admission was apparently couched within a broader concession that Miller “drinks too much alcohol.”
Under Google’s harassment policy, “Sexual harassment can happen regardless of the gender, gender identity, orientation or gender expression of the individuals involved, and can, for example, occur between same-sex individuals as well as between opposite-sex individuals.”
“On information and belief, Google conducted no investigation regarding Olohan’s complaint and Miller faced no formal repercussions,” the court documents state.
Do no evil
In the vacuum of accountability, Olohan claims he soon became the target for retaliation, with Miller “criticizing him to other coworkers and complaining to Human Resources on at least two occasions about alleged ‘microaggressions.'”
Human resource managers were reportedly present during the supposed offenses. Jacky Schiestel, one of the HR members, allegedly agreed that Miller was “being petty” and that no “microaggression” had occurred.
The lawsuit details a number of other instances when Miller allegedly denigrated or undermined Olohan in front of coworkers, in one case going so far as to require an apology. Google reportedly took no action.
Miller’s alleged animosity toward Olohan, as described in the court papers, supposedly informed an identitarian push to oust “white guys” on the plaintiff’s management team, culminating, ultimately, in his termination.
Olohan has since gone to work for the Klick Group as the executive vice president of growth, reported Nextshark.
Should his suit against Google alleging gender and race discrimination prevail, Olohan will see some growth in his bank account, although the damages have not yet been specified.
“This lawsuit is a fictional account of events filled with numerous falsehoods, fabricated by a disgruntled ex-employee, who was senior to Ms. Miller at Google,” a spokesman for Miller told the New York Post. “Ms. Miller never made any ‘advance’ toward Mr. Olohan, which witnesses can readily corroborate.”
“This employee was terminated with cause after a thorough investigation of complaints by numerous employees,” the spokesman explained to the Daily Caller.”
Google’s sexual harassment problem
Olohan’s claims echo those of employees who have in previous years suggested that Google tends to conceal rather than deal head-on with sexual harassment concerns, particularly when they concern high-ranking executives.
Thousands of Google employees walked out in fall 2018 in protest of the company’s response to sexual harassment, reported Reuters.
In response to the protest, Google announced new policies around sexual harassment.
Sundar Pichai, the company’s CEO, said at the time, “We recognize that we have not always gotten everything right in the past and we are sincerely sorry for that. It’s clear we need to make some changes. Going forward, we will provide more transparency on how we handle concerns. We’ll give better support and care to the people who raise them.”
Pichai had previously revealed that the company had fired 48 people, including 13 “senior managers and above,” for sexual harassment between 2016 and 2018.
In 2020, Google agreed to further changes to its policies and procedures around sexual harassment as part of a massive legal settlement valued at over $310 million, reported CNBC.
Julie Goldsmith Reiser, a lawyer for the plaintiffs in the suit, claimed, “We found that Google’s human resources department actually had some capable, smart processes and people in place but the powerful people didn’t feel the need to adhere to HR.”
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