Did Google Reject Job Applicants Because They're Fat?

A New York City woman — let's call her Ms. G, because she signed a non-disclosure agreement — went to Google's local offices to take a test for an administrative position. She'd already had a phone interview, and now there was a test. Afterwards, at lunch, Ms. G says seven of the roughly 20 people there were politely escorted out. All seven were overweight women; everyone who stayed was thin.

Google is famous for its lifestyle perks, including in some instances, fitness classes. Ms. G says her phone interview for one of the eight positions was mostly about her non-work activities, and she got the impression they wanted to see "that you're active in your life, that you do stuff outside of work, that you're well-rounded." The exam she took contained LSAT-style logic questions. Two out of the three were about fitness — running, personal training.

At lunch, a woman Ms. G describes as "one of the heavier girls" asked when they find out their scores. "They got a little cagey and said it's not so much about your score; we consider the overall person," Ms. G says. She later asked for her score but never got a response.

She can't be sure what Google's reasoning was, but when Ms. G and the six other applicants were escorted out, "There was not one fat person left in the pool." In the elevator, she says, the rejected women "kind of looked at each other. One girl had tears in her eyes and that's when I realized, [the HR official] separated out the fatties."

Discrimination against overweight people, if that's indeed what happened, isn't specifically illegal, though the EEOC has occasionally sued on behalf of obese people citing the Americans With Disabilities Act.

As for Google, a spokesperson who was told Ms. G's story had the following comment: "We don't discriminate in our hiring process."