Emi Nietfeld landed her dream job as a Google software engineer in 2015. And as she recounts in a New York Times op-ed, it was much more than a job to her—it was a lifestyle that she embraced. "I ate all my meals at the office," she writes. "I went to the Google doctor and the Google gym." She loved everything about it, except one thing. The male supervisor in charge of her day-to-day work would call her "gorgeous" and "beautiful," even after she asked him to stop. He'd ask her to set him up with a "tall blonde" like her. Nietfeld took the harassment for about a year but finally reported it to HR when she learned the supervisor was up for an even bigger management position. She spoke with four other women who said the man had made them feel uncomfortable, too.
The result? As soon as Nietfeld filed her complaint, "Google went from being a great workplace to being any other company: It would protect itself first," she writes. She describes a three-month-long process during which she had to continue sitting next to the man and meeting with him. In the end, he received an unspecified penalty, but to Nietfeld it appeared that "nothing happened." She suggests the company doesn't take complainants seriously, and based on how she was treated afterward, she suspects her own complaint torpedoed any chance of promotion. Feeling "broken down," she eventually took a leave and then left Google for good. "After I quit, I promised myself to never love a job again," she writes. "No publicly traded company is a family. I fell for the fantasy that it could be." Read the full op-ed. (Read more Google stories.)