Plaintiff Erica Bernhard, the proprietor of a company that focuses on art installations and new media arts, submitted an application for a position with Google and was interviewed by the defendant Adam Katz, who is the creative lead at Google’s internal marketing agency.
Bernhard asserted that Katz pursued a romantic relationship with her, dangled projects in front of her, and stated he could not collaborate with her because he was attracted to her because of their mutual attraction. In the end, Bernhard was not hired by Google, and as a result, she experienced a loss in the value of the contracts for which Katz was allegedly going to hire her.
Bernhard stated that Katz held his management position over her in exchange for sexual activity, which resulted in revenge against her for rejecting his sexual approaches. Google filed a motion to dismiss the case because it was filed against it after the plaintiff filed an employment action against the company for harassment and failure to hire.
The motion was denied by Justice Shlomo Hagler of the Manhattan Supreme Court, who found, among other things, that the plaintiff pleaded sufficient allegations to plausibly support she was treated less favorably because of her gender. The plaintiff claimed that Katz told her he denied her a position with Google because he was attracted to her, and that this was one of the reasons why the motion was denied.
In addition, the court came to the conclusion that Google might be held vicariously accountable for Katz’s claimed actions.
Bernhard v. Google Inc., Case No. 155597/2020 is the name of the lawsuit.