Google has been in deep waters lately regarding the legal issues they are facing. The woes began for the tech giant when reports came out of them firing an engineer, among many other things, who claimed that he came across a sentient AI on the platform. Their reputation further derailed when they had to pay a whopping $118 million to settle a gender discrimination lawsuit.
Yesterday, A former Google contractor filed a lawsuit against the company, stating that he was wrongfully fired. He says that the reason behind him getting fired is that he called out eccentric cult-like activity in the company. Kevin Llyod, the former employee in question, talks about a weird group in the lawsuit. He claims that there are at least 12 members in this religious sect known as the ‘Fellowship of Friends’ (FoF).
The lawsuit talks about how this group of people seems to have an extremely high level of influence in the company. Fellowship of Friends is a religious organization that is based in a tiny town in the Sierra Nevada. It seems that the organization has somehow found its way into the company as well. According to Llyod, there are around 12 fellowship members who have worked for the Google Developer Studio (GDS).
The religious group in question believes that higher consciousness can be achieved by embracing fine arts and culture. Due to these exclusive practices, the group has come under the radar of an investigative Spotify Podcast, which promises to reveal the cult’s secrets. Lloyd’s report talks about his wrongful termination because of calling these practices out, he mentions both Google and his contracting agency ASG in the lawsuit. He also specifically talks about the emotional distress he faced as well as the company’s failure to protect him against discrimination.
A Times report talks about how the fellowship members hold roles at Google’s company events. These roles include working the registration desk, taking photographs, playing music, providing massages as well as serving wine. It also alleged that Google buys this wine from a winery run by one of the members of the fellowship. With this news out, another contractor Erik Johanson told Times about Google’s partnership with ASG that helps the GDS team to hire more FoF members. Apparently, these contractors are hired with far-less scrutiny and a far less rigorous onboarding process.
Lloyd claims in his report how he was immediately fired after he complained about the group. His complaint was met with indifference and there was no help or explanation provided to him. Google, responding to Llyod’s claims says that he was fired for performance issues, refuting any other allegations. Lloyd has also spoken about his experience in a Medium post.