Google has had to deal with a case that has been embarrassing to say the least for its corporate culture for a few days. An employee of the famous American company claims that one of its divisions is plagued by a religious sect known as “The Community of Friends”. In a lawsuit filed in a California court, Kevin Floyd, a former producer at the Google Developer Video platform, claims he was fired from the cell in February 2021 after discovering this group and denouncing the influence it wields. within the company. He is claiming $50,000 in damages for wrongful dismissal.
The testimony of Kevin Floyd, published on Medium, was corroborated by no less than eight collaborators of the group and was the subject of an investigation by the New York Times. According to him, 12 of the 25 employees of the division are among the followers of the sect, starting with its director, Peter Lubbers, who would have taken advantage of his position to hire other sympathizers of the community as subcontractors of this division responsible for producing videos highlighting the technologies developed by Google. The brotherhood would also have hired several contractors in the context of events organized by Google. The American company is said to have regularly purchased wine from a winery run by a member of the cult for amounts amounting to several hundred thousand dollars a year.
Founded in the 1970s by a former teacher, “The Community of Friends” claims just over 1,500 members worldwide, more than a third of whom reside in a vast complex located in northern California. This sect promises its members a higher state of spiritual consciousness. In return, the latter must pay him about 10% of their income each month. The cult’s reputation is controversial to say the least, with several accusations of human trafficking and sexual abuse complaints against underage members of the organization targeting its founder, Robert Earl Burton, notes the New York Times.
Questioned by the American daily, Google claims not to have been aware of this situation: “It is against the law to ask the religious affiliation of those who work for us or for our suppliers, but we will of course examine these allegations of thoroughly to detect any irregularities or improper contractual practices. If we find evidence of policy violations, we will take action,” a company spokesperson said.