By Tia’Lavon Hill, Contributing Writer for Telegraph Local
The name Ross LaJeunesse may be unfamiliar to most people, but after the Ex-Google Executive blasted his former employer for their stance on Human Rights, he is quickly making his way into a household name. Ross LaJeunesse, was the Google’s former head of global international relations. Mr. LaJeunesse, who worked at the firm from 2008 until last May, is now coming forward, claiming that he was “sidelined” by the tech giant, after he pushed the company to take a stronger stance on human rights. He alleges that Google dodged his efforts to formalize a company-wide program for human rights review, even as it worked to expand in countries like China and Saudi Arabia.
“I then realized that the company had never intended to incorporate human rights principles into its business and product decisions. Just when Google needed to double down on a commitment to human rights, it decided to instead chase bigger profits and an even higher stock price,” said the former employee. In 2010, Google’s main search business quit China, in protest of the country’s censorship laws and alleged government hacks. Since then, Google has explored ways to return to the country, a major market, stirring controversy along the way. According to Mr. LaJeunesse, his experience working at Google opened his eyes to the need for tougher regulations on tech companies.
This epiphany ultimately led to the former executives current bid for a seat in the United States senate. Mr. LaJeunesse is running for the Senate as a Democrat in Maine. The seat is currently being held by Republican Susan Collins. While leading the charge for stricter tech company regulations, in a post on Medium LaJeunesse wrote “No longer can massive tech companies like Google be permitted to operate relatively free from government oversight.” This attack comes as concerns about the practices of Silicon Valley giants grow in the U.S.
However, a spokeswoman for the company quickly shot down LaJeunesse’s claims, saying “We have an unwavering commitment to supporting human rights organizations and efforts. We wish Ross all the best with his political ambitions.” Google also claims to conduct human rights assessments for its services, and didn’t believe the approach recommended by Mr. LaJeunesse was best for the company moving forward. As if this issue couldn’t get any worse, Ross LaJeunesse also claims to have raised concerns about the treatment of women and minorities in the work place, only to find himself labeled as a ‘troublesome employee.’ LaJeunesse even went as far as to recall a time during a staff meeting, when his boss allegedly made the comment, “Now you Asians come to the microphone too. I know you don’t like to ask questions.”
However, Google defended itself against such heinous accusations, and stated that it “rigorously” investigates claims of inappropriate conduct, and has worked to improve the reporting process.