Google fires employee over letter about diversity

Google reportedly fired software engineer James Damore after his internal memo on diversity and political bias was leaked on Saturday. The memo, titled Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber, argued that the gender gap was largely due to natural and biological differences between men and women rather than from discrimination, and how liberal bias clouds Google’s thinking when it comes to diversity issues.

As CNN reported on Monday:

He argued that the company’s diversity programs — including seminars that teach young girls coding skills — are “highly politicized.” The diversity work, he said, “alienates non-progressives.” He also said he believes that Google’s commitment to hire more women stands to make the company less competitive, and that the gender wage gap is a myth.

Google’s new Vice President of Diversity, Integrity & Governance, Danielle Brown, issued a memo to staff responding to Damore’s memo. Brown stated she, “found that it advanced incorrect assumptions about gender” and that, “Diversity and inclusion are a fundamental part of our values and the culture we continue to cultivate.” She also stated in her memo that, “building an open, inclusive environment means fostering a culture in which those with alternative views, including different political views, feel safe sharing their opinions.”

James Damore however stated in his memo that:

“Psychological safety is built on mutual respect and acceptance, but unfortunately our culture of shaming and misrepresentation is disrespectful and unaccepting of anyone outside its echo chamber.”

Some have noted that the software engineer’s firing for “perpetuating gender stereotypes” may be an indicator that Damore’s memo had some credibility in that alternative views at Google are being repressed.

As Fox News reported:

Google fired the worker whose leaked memo claimed the company had an “ideological echo chamber” that alienated conservatives and left Google’s top brass in the quandary of deciding whether it had gone too far beyond the realm of free speech.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai also sent a letter to employees saying that the memo violated the company’s Code of Conduct by advancing “harmful gender stereotypes” because the memo listed biological issues that prevented women from climbing the corporate ladder and being as successful as their male counterparts in the tech industry.

Pichai stated:

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

The employee’s memo created a firestorm on social media after it went viral on Monday, attracting both strong support and heavy backlash.

James Damore is reportedly exploring legal action after being fired.

Business Insider reports:

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

Damore has been employed with Google since 2013 and holds the title of “FIDE Master” under The World Chess Federation. He graduated from University of Illinois in 2010 as a James Scholar and was given the Bronze Tablet. He then went to Harvard to obtain a Ph.D. in systems biology.

Read Damore’s memo in full below:

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