A 15-year veteran at Google filed a federal discrimination lawsuit against his former tech giant employer alleging the White man was fired for not being “inclusive” after rejecting sexual advances from an Asian female executive who repeatedly drunkenly lashed out at him at work events in New York City.
Ryan Olohan, the former Managing Director of Food, Beverage and Restaurants at Google, was fired on Aug. 5, 2022. Two members of Google’s Employee Investigations team held a video conference with the married father of seven children, informing him he was not “inclusive” and was being terminated because he had “shown favoritism to high performers,” which the company “considered ‘non-inclusive’ and commented on employees’ walking pace and hustle, which it called ‘ableist,'” according to the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in November.
Before then, Olohan, whose wife is Asian, was allegedly repeatedly sexually harassed by a fellow executive, Tiffany Miller, who held the title of Director of Programmatic Media. Miller is also Asian.
“Mr. Olohan’s complaint details his record of leadership and integrity, which Google consistently recognized for over 15 years. We are disappointed by Google’s refusal to take accountability and look forward to vindicating Mr. Olohan’s rights,” Olohan’s attorney, Alex Rissmiller, said Wednesday in a statement to FOX Business.
In the wake of the lawsuit, Google has defended its decision to fire Olohan.
“This employee was terminated with cause after a thorough investigation of complaints by numerous employees,” a Google spokesperson said Wednesday in a statement to FOX Business. “We firmly stand by our decision here and we will vigorously defend ourselves against these claims.”
The alleged harassment began in December 2019 when Adam Stewart, the Vice President of Google Consumer, Government & Entertainment, hosted an off-site dinner for approximately 15 employees at a restaurant in Manhattan.
A man walks near Google offices in New York City.
At the dinner, Miller allegedly approached Olohan and “rubbed his stomach,” telling him he had “such a nice body,” that he was handsome, that her own marriage “lacked spice,” and that she knew he liked Asian woman over White women, according to the filing. Because he was uncomfortable addressing the incident at the dinner because many employees, including his supervisor, Stewart, had been drinking, Olohan reported the incident a week later to Google Human Resources member Purnima Menon.
“Menon openly admitted to Olohan that if the complaint was ‘in reverse’ — a female accusing a White male of harassment — that the complaint would certainly be escalated,” the lawsuit alleges.
The lawsuit says Google conducted no investigation regarding Olohan’s complaint and Miller faced no formal repercussions.
“Following Olohan’s rejection of Miller’s sexual advances and report of the incident to Human Resources, Miller began to retaliate against him by criticizing him to other co-workers and complaining to Human Resources on at least two occasions about alleged ‘microaggressions’ from Olohan,” according to the filing.
The exterior of the Google offices, located on 16th Street at 9th Avenue in the Meatpacking District in New York City.
Google’s Human Resources Business Partner, Jacky Schiestel, allegedly agreed that there were no “microaggressions” and Miller was just “being petty.”
“At another Google-hosted event, in December 2021, Miller was openly hostile to Olohan and 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,'” the lawsuit says. “Noticing that she was intoxicated and causing a scene, two Google employees encouraged Miller to move to the other end of the table in an effort to stop her behavior.”
Schiestel was informed of the incident the next day by several Google employees, and Schiestel, Stewart and Miller scheduled separate meetings with Olohan to apologize for the drunken outburst.
The Google New York offices, Chelsea Market Space Ninth Avenue, in Manhattan.
“In further retaliation against Olohan, Miller encouraged another Google employee, Stephanie Gatton, Administrative Business Professional to both Miller and Olohan, to complain to Human Resources that Olohan was not ‘inclusive,’ including in his planning an offsite event for his management team,” the lawsuit says. “The offsite event plans were reviewed with, and approved by, Human Resources and Stewart in advance on two separate occasions.”
The lawsuit details other incidents in the months leading up to his ultimate termination where Olohan was allegedly subjected to sexual harassment and disparate treatment because he refused to succumb to Miller’s sexual advances and because he is a White male.
In February 2022, Stewart informed Olohan that there were “obviously too many White guys” on the CG&E management team, according to the filing. Then at an off-site event hosted by Stewart and his management team that ended at a karaoke bar in April, Miller allegedly mocked Olohan when he arrived late to the event and “asked if he was at the gym again, building his muscles.”
Former Google executive Ryan Olohan says he was sexually harassed by a female colleague.
At the event, Miller allegedly told Olohan again that she “knew he preferred Asian woman to White women” and later, growing visibility intoxicated, “berated Olohan in front of other Google employees,” according to the lawsuit. Despite that other co-workers witnessed the behavior, Google again took no action.
“In June 2022, Schiestel informed Olohan that an employee had complained to Human Resources about him,” the lawsuit says. “Approximately three weeks later, Olohan informed Schiestel that the complaint was made at Miller’s behest in retaliation for his refusing her sexual advances.”
That summer, the filing says both Schiestel and Stewart strongly encouraged Olohan to hire only female applicants for an open management position on his team, and Human Resources and Stewart encouraged Olohan to terminate the employment of a male member of his team and to replace him with a female hire. The lawsuit, which involves an amount in controversy in excess of $75,000, alleged Olohan suffered damages, including lost earnings, lost benefits, other financial loss and emotional distress at the company in the months leading up to and because of his August termination.
Olohan joined Google in January 2007 as an account executive. The suit notes he excelled in his role and received positive feedback based on his performance, including “exceeds expectations” or “strongly exceeds expectations” ratings in virtually every performance cycle until he was promoted to a certain level, when company policy requires executives to at the highest to receive “meet expectations” ratings.