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Google Accused of Discrimination Over Low Gmail ‘Inboxing’ Rates

Google's logo on its headquarters.

Mountain View, California, USA - March 29, 2018: Google sign on the building at Google's headquarters in Silicon Valley . Google is an American technology company in Internet-related services and products.

A lawsuit put before the Northern District of California late last week by the Republican National Committee (RNC) claims that Google has intentionally discriminated against it because of its political affiliation. The complaint argues that RNC emails are unfairly sent to recipients’ spam folders, with its Gmail “inboxing” rate dropping to nearly 0% some days this year while midterm elections loom.

The RNC explains that it relies on email to “engage[] in its core mission of conducting political activity in support of the Republican Party.” Google’s Gmail is the nation’s leading email service provider used by 41.9% of Americans, the suit says.

Nevertheless, the RNC claims that Google has intentionally sent millions of its emails to potential donors’ and supporters’ spam folders during crucial points in election fundraising and community building.

Though it tried to find explanations and answers from Google this year, “every explanation has been refuted and every solution has failed,” the complaint says. The plaintiff claims that the engagement process has stalled and Google now refuses to discuss the issue further.

“The only reasonable inference is that Google is intentionally sending critical RNC emails to the spam folder because it’s the RNC sending them,” the complaint ventures. The organization asserts that Google’s discriminatory actions have caused the RNC to lose valuable California revenue and will continue to cost it leading up to the midterm election and beyond.

The suit states six causes of action including negligence, intentional and negligent interference with prospective economic relations, unfair business competition, and discrimination. With regard to the discrimination claim, the suit says that Google violates the California Unruh Act by denying the RNC full and equal use to services Google offers to the public and seeks statutory damages of $4,000 per offense.

The RNC is represented by Dhillon Law Group Inc. and Consovoy McCarthy PLLC.

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