On Monday, Google officially fired the employee whose leaked memo criticizing “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber” caused a stir in journalism and among women in tech.
As MRCTV previously reported, the employee, now identified as James Damore, wrote a 10-page document criticizing Google for its diversity initiatives and its alienation of conservatives. Although Damore cited scientific, biological reasons for the gender gap in tech, and explicitly wrote on his memo he was “not saying that diversity is bad,” he was attacked in the media and publicly by his colleagues for writing an “anti-diversity screed” and for reportedly attacking women.
In a note to employees since made public and spread on Twitter, Google CEO Sundar Pichai wrote Damore was terminated for his memo allegedly violating parts of the Google Code of Conduct. According to Pichai, Damore violated the Code of Conduct by “advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace” which in turn threatened the “culture that is free of harassment, intimidation, bias and unlawful discrimination” at Google.
Despite firing Damore for his views, Pichai wrote that Google “strongly support the right of Googlers to express themselves” and claimed that the topics he discussed were open to debate, but apparently, not in the way Damore addressed them. Ironically, Pichai also mentioned how some people were made to “worry that each time they open their mouths to speak in a meeting”:
The memo has clearly impacted our co-workers, some of whom are hurting and feel judged based on their gender. Our co-workers shouldn’t have to worry that each time they open their mouths to speak in a meeting, they have to prove that they are not like the memo states, being “agreeable” rather than “assertive,” showing a “lower stress tolerance,” or being “neurotic.”
At the same time, there are co-workers who are questioning whether they can safely express their views in the workplace (especially those with a minority viewpoint). They too feel under threat, and that is also not OK. People must feel free to express dissent. So to be clear again, many points raised in the memo—such as the portions criticizing Google’s trainings, questioning the role of ideology in the workplace, and debating whether programs for women and underserved groups are sufficiently open to all—are important topics. The author had a right to express their views on those topics—we encourage an environment in which people can do this and it remains our policy to not take action against anyone for prompting these discussions.
In a statement to the New York Times’ Daisuke Wakabayashi, Damore said he would “likely take legal action” against Google over his termination.
Damore told the New York Times, “I have a legal right to express my concerns about the terms and conditions of my working environment and to bring up potentially illegal behavior, which is what my document does.”
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