The Google employee who was fired last summer over his sexist memo explaining why women are ‘biologically’ less likely to succeed, is now suing the tech giant claiming it discriminates against conservative white men.
Former software engineer James Damore argues he was ‘singled out, mistreated, and systematically punished and terminated’ after his ten page internal memo on diversity was leaked.
Damore was fired in August shortly after the memo went viral and Google CEO Sundar Pichai, who cut a family vacation short to deal with the fall out, released a statement saying the former employee had violated their code of conduct and ‘cross(ed) the line by advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace.’
Now Damore is suing Google, claiming that it discriminates against conservative white men.
Former software engineer James Damore (pictured) argues he was ‘singled out, mistreated, and systematically punished and terminated’ after his ten page internal memo on diversity was leaked
He is now suing the tech giant claiming it discriminates against conservative white men
The suit, filed by Harmeet K. Dhillon, the Republican National Committee’s committeewoman for California,in Santa Clara Superior Court, also names another former Google engineer, David Gudeman, as a plaintiff.
It argues that by trying to make the workplace more diverse, and equalize pay and the number of women in the tech firm, that white males were suffering.
‘Google’s management goes to extreme — and illegal — lengths to encourage hiring managers to take protected categories such as race and/or gender into consideration as determinative hiring factors, to the detriment of Caucasian and male employees and potential employees at Google,’ the suit, obtained by Buzzfeed, reads.
The lengthy complaint, which includes communications from other Google employees criticizing Damore for his sexist memo, paints him as the perfect employee.
It describes how he received eight performance related bonuses after joining the company in 2013 and a $150,000 annual stock bonus.
But it says he became unhappy about the company’s steps to help minorities into tech.
CEO Sundar Pichai said in August the engineer had violated Google’s code of conduct by ‘advancing harmful gender stereotypes’
‘Damore was surprised by Google’s position on blatantly taking gender into consideration during the hiring and promotion processes, and in publicly shaming Google business units for failing to achieve numerical gender parity,’ reads the suit.
It highlights a talk given by Chief Financial Officer Ruth Porat and Human Resources Director Eileen Naughton in March 2017 which reportedly ‘shamed’ departments with less than a 50 per cent female workforce.
Damore also claimed in the suit he felt pressured to attend diversity training events because he said that bosses had made it clear that embracing diversity was imprtant when considering promotion.
But when he attended, he felt like his complaints were not heard. He also complained that Google, a ‘liberal’ company was biased against conservatives such as himself.
The suit states that those holding the diversity events asked for feedback, which is when he wrote his memo, which he also forwarded to several different internal Google discussion forums.
After a coworker leaked the memo, Damore claims in his lawsuit he was threatened and insulted by his coworkers, including one who emailed him calling him a ‘terrible person’ with ‘misogynistic’ views and promising to ‘hound’ him until one of them was fired.
Damore was eventually fired in August although he claims management did not identify ‘any Google policy or procedure that Damore had violated,’ the suit reads.
However, Damore was on an at-will contract at the time, meaning his employers did not have to prove he’d violated policy.
Damore, who graduated from Harvard in 2013 with a doctoral degree in systems biology, first had his 3,300-word manifesto published by technology news site Motherboard. It noted that women could not get ahead at Google because of biological differences.
It prompted backlash from Google’s new head of diversity, Danielle Brown, who denounced the memo in her own note to staff.
She said the memo ‘advanced incorrect assumptions about gender’ and did not display a viewpoint ‘that I or this company endorses, promotes or encourages’.
‘DIFFERENCES BETWEEN MEN AND WOMEN’ ACCORDING TO JAMES DAMORE’S MEMO
The following is an extract from engineer James Damore’s lengthy memo
Women, on average, have more:
- Openness directed towards feelings and aesthetics rather than ideas. Women generally also have a stronger interest in people rather than things, relative to men (also interpreted as empathizing vs. systemizing).
- These two differences in part explain why women relatively prefer jobs in social or artistic areas. More men may like coding because it requires systemizing and even within SWEs, comparatively more women work on front end, which deals with both people and aesthetics.
- Extraversion expressed as gregariousness rather than assertiveness. Also, higher agreeableness.
- This leads to women generally having a harder time negotiating salary, asking for raises, speaking up, and leading. Note that these are just average differences and there’s overlap between men and women, but this is seen solely as a women’s issue. This leads to exclusory programs like Stretch and swaths of men without support.
- Neuroticism (higher anxiety, lower stress tolerance). This may contribute to the higher levels of anxiety women report on Googlegeist and to the lower number of women in high stress jobs.
Note that contrary to what a social constructionist would argue, research suggests that ‘greater nation-level gender equality leads to psychological dissimilarity in men’s and women’s personality traits.’ Because as ‘society becomes more prosperous and more egalitarian, innate dispositional differences between men and women have more space to develop and the gap that exists between men and women in their personality becomes wider.’ We need to stop assuming that gender gaps imply sexism.
Men’s higher drive for status
We always ask why we don’t see women in top leadership positions, but we never ask why we see so many men in these jobs. These positions often require long, stressful hours that may not be worth it if you want a balanced and fulfilling life.
Status is the primary metric that men are judged on, pushing many men into these higher paying, less satisfying jobs for the status that they entail.
Note, the same forces that lead men into high pay/high stress jobs in tech and leadership cause men to take undesirable and dangerous jobs like coal mining, garbage collection, and firefighting, and suffer 93% of work-related deaths.
Many have argued that the engineer’s memo was proof of the sexist, male-driven structures that Silicon Valley has become known for in recent months.
Others said Damore’s concern that the company was too left-leaning was legitimate. Some also claim he is the voice of many conservative employees who are too scared to speak out against Google’s politically correct policies because they fear they will lose their jobs.
In his 10-page document, the Damore explained his belief that the company is blind to inevitable differences between men and women and says that staff are trained to think a that lack of diversity is down to discrimination when sometimes there are other factors to consider.
Damore, who graduated from Harvard in 2013, had noted that women could not get ahead at Google because of biological differences.
‘At Google, we’re regularly told that implicit (unconscious) and explicit biases are holding women back in tech and leadership,’ he wrote.
‘Of course, men and women experience bias, tech, and the workplace differently and we should be cognizant of this, but it’s far from the whole story.
‘On average, men and women biologically differ in many ways.’
Among the perceived differences is that women are have ‘a stronger interest in people rather than things’ which he said explains ‘why women prefer jobs in social or artistic areas.’
Men, he said, are more prone to jobs like coding ‘because it requires systemizing’.
Damore wrote that women were generally ‘more prone to neuroticism’ and that this is why there aren’t so many females in high-stress jobs. The software engineer has not been identified.
‘We always ask why we don’t see women in top leadership positions, but we never ask why we see so many men in these jobs. These positions often require long, stressful hours that may not be worth it if you want a balanced and fulfilling life.’
Among the biggest problems, he said, was that staff who do not agree with the company’s approach to the issue are told keep their ideas ‘in the closet’.
‘Google’s left bias has created a politically correct monoculture that maintains its hold by shaming dissenters into silence. This silence removes any checks against encroaching extremist and authoritarian policies,’ he said.
The suit, filed by Harmeet K. Dhillon, the Republican National Committee’s committeewoman for California,in Santa Clara Superior Court, also names another former Google engineer, David Gudeman, as a plaintiff
Later he added that conservatives were an increasingly marginalized minority.
‘Conservatives are a minority that feel like they need to stay in the closet to avoid open hostility. We should empower those with different ideologies to be able to express themselves.
‘At Google, we talk so much about unconscious bias as it applies to race and gender, but we rarely discuss our moral biases. Political orientation is actually a result of deep moral preferences and thus biases.
‘Considering that the overwhelming majority of the social sciences, media, and Google lean left, we should critically examine these prejudices,’ he said.
At the end of his memo, Damore suggested ‘non-discriminatory ways’ to reduce inequality, writing: ‘Women on average are more prone to anxiety.
‘Make tech and leadership less stressful. Google already partly does this with its many stress reduction courses and benefits.’
He suggested that the company should do away with programs which cater to a specific minority in order to stamp out discrimination.
The engineer faced a barrage of outraged complaints on Twitter after his memo was published online.
Much of the outrage came from Google employees who disagreed with his stance. Other critics said the man deserved to be fired for his opinion.
He was fired shortly after and CEO Pichai released a statement saying that employees have a right to express themselves but ‘to suggest a group of our colleagues have traits that make them less biologically suited to that work is offensive and not OK.’
The other plaintiff, Gudeman, according to his LinkedIn profile, worked at Google as an engineer from November 2013 to December 2016.
He now works as a self-employed software contractor and writer.
A Google spokesperson did not respond to reporters’ requests for comment.