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Is Google Discriminating against Employees for Their Political Ideologies?
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Summary: Google is about to find themselves under fire for allegedly using internal practices that discriminate against employees based on their political beliefs.

Former Google engineer James Damore was recently fired from what he called his “Dream Company.” After talking with other Google employees that felt they were also discriminated against, Damore and his lawyer feel that they have uncovered a problem at Google that needs to be addressed.

  
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Damore claims he was fired just weeks ago by Google for challenging their liberal political ideologies in a memo where he laid out questions he had about certain policies. Damore explains that he was just trying to have a discussion, something that Google says they welcome. He filed an unfair-labor-practice charge against Google and is considered suing them with his attorney Harmeet Dhillon.

He said in an interview that his termination was not an “isolated event.” He said, “What I was trying to complain about was the history of political discrimination at Google.” Google fired him for violating their code of conduct of perpetuating gender stereotypes. Other former Google employees say they were fired for a similar reason. He added, “It’s a much stronger story and something that Google really has to respond to by actually changing their policies, rather than giving me hush money.”

There is no secret that Dhillon is a Republican. She was once considered for a position with the Trump administration. She posted a notice on her firm’s website explaining they were “investigating Google’s employment discrimination against employees on the basis of their political views.”

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Damore claims there are five others that are interested in pursuing legal action against Google. Dhillon could not firm his claim. She says they are considering a number of reasons for a lawsuit, including punishments against people for their political beliefs which are protected under California law.

Google spokesman Ty Sheppard says free expression is allowed at Google to a certain extent. He said, “We have strong policies against retaliation, harassment and discrimination in the workplace. We also strongly support the right of Googlers to express themselves. An important part of our culture is lively debate. But like any workplace that doesn’t mean that anything goes.” This is also in reference to a memo from CEO Sundar Pichai.



Damore says he attended a daylong conference at Google on diversity and inclusion at the company. He found some of the policies covered during the conference to be troublesome such as for managers “constantly referring to people as diversity candidates and the special treatment we would give them.” He wanted to talk more about these policies, explaining that “I have studied this a lot just for academia, how practices like affirmative action can actually be counter-productive.” He added, “It was mostly this didn’t fit right in my head so I wanted to write it down to clarify my thoughts.”

He described the repercussions of posting his memo as “providing a platform” for managers to “crucify me.” He felt persecuted by managers that mispresented his concerns. The interactions with management prompted him to file the charge with the National Labor Relations Board. Five days later he was fired. He says Google was aware of his complaint.

Google is already under investigation for possible discrimination against women. The US Department of Labor is looking into whether women are paid less than men for the same jobs. Altschuler Berzon attorney James Finberg said he may be filing a private class-action lawsuit against Google for this issue. He says his research through interviews indicates that over 80 current and former employees believe women were paid less for the same work as well as being put into lower level or nontechnical jobs. Women comprise 31 percent of the company’s workforce with their technical workforce only being 20 percent women.

Damore left a Ph.D. program at Harvard in 2013 to join Google. He is concerned that Google will “turn into the Soviet Union.” He views their suppression of opposing beliefs as not being “good for humanity as a whole.” He wants Google to change their ways and be more open to those with differing points of view.

Do you think there could be a serious problem of companies firing employees that don’t align with management’s views? Tell us how you think this problem should be addressed.

To learn more about workplace discrimination, read these articles:

Photo: flickr.com



 

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