February 22, 2018

Google CEO Cuts Vacation Short To Deal With Crisis Over Diversity Memo

09 August 2017, 12:22 | Darrell Baldwin

Google headquarters in Mountain View California on Feb. 18 2016. File

Google headquarters in Mountain View California on Feb. 18 2016. File

Damore said Monday he was "exploring all possible legal remedies" after the internet giant terminated him over his 3,000-word manifesto blasting Google's "left bias" for creating a "politically correct monoculture" that ignores differences between the sexes.

"James Damore: Writes memo respectfully saying Google suppresses conservative views".

Damore said he would fight the dismissal, noting that he had filed a complaint with the U.S. National Labor Relations Board before the firing. That outcome could galvanize any backlash against Alphabet's ongoing efforts to make its workforce more diverse.

Sexual harassment allegations have rocked Uber as well as multiple venture capital firms this year. Ellen Pao's gender-discrimination lawsuit against Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers in 2015 also brought the issue to light, and more women are speaking up to say they've been sidelined in the male-dominated industry, especially in engineering roles. "[WikiLeaks] is offering a job to fired Google engineer James Damore", declared Assange on Twitter, Tuesday. He didn't say if the company was taking action against the employee.

"If he had said 'anybody who is interested in challenging the requirement that we go to diversity training, come meet with me, ' then he would have a very strong case", Mr Schiller said, but it's not clear Mr Damore's memo was intended "to get people at Google to organize and protest against whatever the policies were that he didn't like".

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". For companies actively looking to hire women software engineers, they are facing a dearth of talent as women are dropping out of the engineering field too early, a report by NPR unveils.

Diversity and inclusion are a fundamental part of our values and the culture we continue to cultivate.

This recent incident comes as Google fights off accusations from the USA government alleging systemic discrimination against women at the company.

Ellis said Google promotes employees and determines salaries based on peer evaluations. But to many women who've worked at Google, the memo is more than just another exercise in free speech.

Pichai also said in his email that there are Google employees who are questioning whether they can safely express their opinions, especially ones that might fall into a minority. However, she added that Google will remain tolerant of clashing viewpoints, which made it unclear if the company would take action against Damore.

Such reasoning should be a sufficient reason for Mr Damore's firing, said Reuel Schiller, a professor and labour law expert at UC Hastings College of Law, since employee protections prevent people being fired for discriminatory reasons like a person's race or religion.

But reaction to Damore's firing in conservative circles was swift and harsh.

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