Google Fires Employee Behind Anti-Diversity Memo

 Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai said the claims in the memo were ‘contrary to our basic values’. Photograph: Mike Blake/ReutersInternet giant Google has fired the male engineer at the center of an uproar in Silicon Valley over the past week after he authored an internal memo asserting there are biological causes behind gender inequality in the tech industry.

James Damore, the engineer who wrote the memo, confirmed his dismissal, saying in an email to Reuters on Monday that he had been fired for "perpetuating gender stereotypes".

Damore said he was exploring all possible legal remedies, and that before being fired, he had submitted a charge to the U.S. National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) accusing Google upper management of trying to shame him into silence.

"It's illegal to retaliate against an NLRB charge," he wrote in the email.

Google, a unit of Alphabet Inc based in Mountain View, Calif., said it could not talk about individual employee cases.

Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai told employees in a note on Monday that portions of the anti-diversity memo "violate our Code of Conduct and cross the line by advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace," according to a copy of the note seen by Reuters.

It was not immediately clear what legal authority Damore could try to invoke. Non-union or "at will" employees, such as most tech workers, can be fired in the United States for a wide array of reasons that have nothing to do with performance.

The U.S. National Labor Relations Act guarantees workers, whether they are in a union or not, the right to engage in "concerted activities" for their "mutual aid or protection".

Damore, though, would likely face an uphill fight to seek that protection based on his memo, said Alison Morantz, a Stanford University law professor with expertise in labor law.

"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.

Debate over the treatment of women in the male-dominated tech industry has raged for months. Claims of persistent sexual harassment in the ranks of Uber Technologies Inc and of several venture capital firms led to management shakeups.

Management at the largest tech firms, including Google, have publicly committed to diversifying their workforces, although the percentage of women in engineering and management roles remains low at many companies.

The U.S. Department of Labor is investigating whether Google has unlawfully paid women less than men. The company has denied the charges.

Damore asserted in his 3,000-word document that circulated inside the company last week that "Google's left bias has created a politically correct monoculture" which prevented honest discussion of diversity.

The engineer, who has a doctoral degree in systems biology from Harvard University, according to his LinkedIn page, attacked the idea that gender diversity should be a goal.

"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 in the memo.

He quickly received support in conservative media outlets. On Breitbart News, once run by Steve Bannon, now chief strategist to President Donald Trump, commentators overnight discussed whether to boycott Google and switch to services such as Microsoft Corp's Bing.

Google's vice president of diversity, Danielle Brown, sent a memo in response to the furor over the weekend, saying the engineer's essay "advanced incorrect assumptions about gender".
vIa: Reuters

Category and Tags
Add a comment
More stories by
Mitsubishi to invest $100m to assemble cars in Bangladesh

Japanese automaker giant Mitsubishi has decided to invest $100 million in Bangladesh to produce its branded vehicles.

Study: 50% Bangladeshi transport workers have eyesight issues

Brac Road Safety Programme and JCI–Dhaka West conducted the survey on 1,200 transport workers in Dhaka last month Around 50% of transport workers in Bangladesh suffer from eyesight problems, said a study by Brac.

Bangladeshis will be richer than Indians by 2030, StanChart Bank says

The 2020s are set to be the Asian decade, with the continent dominating an exclusive list of economies expected to sustain growth rates of around 7%.

Crying helps you reduce body weight: Study

Crying is humans’ natural response to pain, stress, sadness, and happiness, a recent study says.

Biman plane crashes in Yangon airport

Photo: Supplied.A Biman Bangladesh Airlines plane has crashed this evening on the runway at Yangon International Airport, aviation sources told The Myanmar Times.The S2-AGQ - Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 was seen in p...

Follow Business Habit on Facebook, Twitter