Ex-Google contractor settles Friends Community lawsuit
A former Google video producer has settled a lawsuit claiming he was fired after complaining that a religious cult had gained a foothold in a company business unit.
Kevin Lloyd, 34, said in the lawsuit he was fired after complaining that the Fellowship of Friends, a religious organization based in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains, dominated a business unit called Google Developer Studios , which produces videos presenting the activities of the company. technologies.
The lawsuit claimed that the head of the business unit – Peter Lubbers, a longtime member of the Fellowship of Friends – had hired many members of the religious group on the team as contractors, helped some to advance to positions full time and provided work for many others. when organizing conferences and company parties.
Google confirmed Monday that the lawsuit has been resolved. He also confirmed that Mr. Lubbers was no longer employed by Google, although he declined to explain his departure. Mr. Lubber could not immediately be reached for comment.
Last year, Mr Lloyd sued Google and Advanced Systems Group, or ASG, a staffing firm that brought him to Google as a contractor. He accused the two companies of violating a California employment law that protects workers from discrimination.
The lawsuit raised questions about Google’s reliance on contract employees, who now outnumber full-time employees at the company. Most of Mr. Lloyd’s team joined the company through ASG as contractors, including many Fellowship members.
Mr Lloyd agreed to settle the lawsuit last week. The terms of the settlement – which was between Mr Lloyd and ASG – were not disclosed.
Founded by a former schoolteacher named Robert Earl Burton in 1970, the Fellowship of Friends describes itself as “available to anyone interested in pursuing the spiritual work of enlightenment.” It claims about 1,500 members worldwide, including about 500 in and around Oregon House, Calif., a small town about 180 miles north of Google’s Silicon Valley headquarters.
Mr. Burton believed that people could achieve a higher consciousness by embracing the fine arts. Over the decades, he cultivated an extravagant lifestyle with the help of his followers, who often donated 10% of their monthly earnings to the organization.
In 1984, a former member filed a lawsuit claiming that young men who had joined the organization “had been forcibly and unlawfully sexually seduced by Burton”. In 1996, another former member accused Mr. Burton of sexual misconduct with him when he was a minor. Both lawsuits were settled out of court.
In 2008, Catherine Jones, Mr Lloyd’s lawyer in his lawsuit against Google and ASG, won a similar case against recruitment firm Kelly Services. Along with the suit, a former Kelly employee claimed the company didn’t promote her because, unlike many colleagues, she wasn’t a fellow. A court awarded him $6.5 million in damages.
Prior to working at Google and leading the Google Developer Studios, Mr. Lubbers worked at Kelly Services.