James Damore, the ex-Google engineer who was fired for a controversial August memo about, among other things, women in tech workplaces, filed a lawsuit on Monday against his former employer for discriminating against conservative white males.
What’s the history here?
Google in August fired Damore — who worked for the company for four years — after he penned a viral 10-page internal memo alleging that the company is intolerant of certain viewpoints. The main source of controversy in the memo was the assertion that women may not be as well-suited to jobs in tech companies because of the demands of the job.
Damore in the memo also criticized the company’s continued push for diversity, and advocated for a fairer approach to the evaluation of each employee’s skillsets individually.
Damore in his memo wrote, “I hope it’s clear that I’m not saying that diversity is bad, that Google or society is 100 percent fair, that we shouldn’t try to correct for existing biases, or that minorities have the same experience of those in the majority.
“My larger point is that we have an intolerance for ideas and evidence that don’t fit a certain ideology,” he added.
Damore’s memo later noted that “discrimination to reach equal representation is unfair, divisive, and bad for business.”
After the memo went viral, Google CEO Sundar Pichai released a statement about Damore’s essay, as well as his fate with the company.
“Let me say that we strongly support the right of Googlers to express themselves,” Pichai said in a statement, “and much of what was in that memo is fair to debate, regardless of whether a vast majority of Googlers disagree with it. However, portions of the memo violate our Code of Conduct and cross the line by advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace.”
What is the lawsuit all about?
Damore’s lawsuit asserts that his former company systematically discriminates against conservative white males.
In the lawsuit, Damore and a fellow engineer allege that “employees who expressed views deviating from the majority view at Google on political subjects raised in the workplace and relevant to Google’s employment policies and its business, such as ‘diversity’ hiring policies, ‘bias sensitivity,’ or ‘social justice,’ were/are singled out, mistreated, and systematically punished and terminated from Google, in violation of their legal rights.”
Damore’s attorneys filed the lawsuit in California’s Santa Clara Superior Court, and implored those whose rights were also reportedly violated by Google to come forward, especially if they were conservative white males.
Damore’s lawsuit cites myriad examples of purported anti-conservative behaviors within the company.
Another portion of the filing reads, “Google employs illegal hiring quotas to fill its desired percentages of women and favored minority candidates, and openly shames managers of business units who fail to meet their quotas — in the process, openly denigrating male and Caucasian employees as less favored than others.”
Did Google respond?
CNBC on Monday reported a statement regarding Damore’s lawsuit from a Google spokesperson, who said that the company “looks forward to defending against Mr. Damore’s lawsuit in court.”