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Google Employee Who Penned Anti-Diversity Manifesto Exploring Legal Action

Summary: Google fired James Damore, an engineer who wrote a memo arguing the company should remove gender and racial diversity initiatives. 

Google fired the author of a viral misogynistic tech memo, but now the writer is saying that it was he who was discriminated against.

  
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Last week, James Damore’s internal memo caused an uproar in Silicon Valley after it circulated and was later tweeted about by several employees. The memo asserted that biological differences between the sexes explained gender inequality in the notoriously male-dominated tech industry, and it urged the company to reject current gender and racial diversity initiatives and instead seek ideological diversity.

After the public backlash, Google CEO Sundar Pichai condemned Damore’s memo.

“To suggest a group of our colleagues have traits that make them less biologically suited to that work is offensive and not OK,” Pichai said.

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Damore told Reuters on Monday that he had been fired for “perpetuating gender stereotypes” and that he was looking into his legal options. He stated that he had filed a complaint with the U.S. National Labor Relations Board because Google had tried to shame his conservative views.

“It’s illegal to retaliate against an NLRB charge,” Damore said.



On Monday, Pichai said in a company note that the anti-diversity memo was not tolerated at the Mountain View, California-based company. He said that Damore’s writing violated Google’s Code of Conduct and “cross[ed] the line by advancing harmful gender stereotypes.”

Stanford University law professor Alison Morantz told Business Insider that Damore would face an uphill legal battle in California if he were to sue his former employer.

“It’s going to be a hard sell that this activity was either concerted or for mutual aid or protection, rather than simply venting or pitting one group of workers against the others, which does not sound very mutual,” Morantz said.

Women’s treatment in Silicon Valley has been a hot topic in the past few years as many female employees have come forward to state that they have been on the receiving end of sexual harassment or other forms of gender-based discrimination. For instance, Uber and several venture-capital firms were hit with sexual harassment lawsuits, which led to management changes.

In Damore’s 3,000 word memo, he said that gender diversity should not be a company goal, and that Google’s leftist views created a “politically correct monoculture” that stopped honest discussion about diversity, which he felt was unnecessary.

“The distribution of preferences and abilities of men and women differ in part due to biological causes and … these differences may explain why we don’t see equal representation of women in tech and leadership,” Damore wrote.

Google is currently being investigated for allegedly paying female employees less than men, but the company has denied this charge.

An anonymous source told Motherboard that Damore’s writing was actually expressing the silent majority’s thoughts about women and minorities in tech.

“The broader context of this is that this person is perhaps bolder than most of the people at Google who share his viewpoint—of thinking women are less qualified than men—to the point he was willing to publicly argue for it. But there are sadly more people like him,” an unnamed Google employee said. “I feel like there’s a lot of pushback from white dudes who genuinely feel like diversity is lowering the bar.”

What do you think of Damore’s memo? Let us know in the comments below.



 

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