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Former Google Engineer Suing Company Over Perceived Discrimination Against White Men

11 January, 2018, 09:21 | Author: Joan Malone
  • Adam Berry  Getty Images

James Damore, the software engineer fired from Google after ironically firing off a neurotic memo about "neurotic" women, has launched a class-action lawsuit in the USA against his former employer.

On Monday, Damore filed a class action lawsuit against Google in California's Santa Clara Superior Court.

"Google employs illegal hiring quotas to fill its desired percentages of women and favored minority candidates, and openly shames managers of business units who fail to meet their quotas - in the process, openly denigrating male and Caucasian employees as less favored than others."

Damore's original memo, which was leaked this fall, criticized Google's "left leaning" culture and argued that women in engineering were paid less than men due to their biological differences, not because of hiring practice. "Google furnishes a large number of internal mailing lists catering to employees with alternative lifestyles, including furries, polygamy, transgenderism, and plurality, for the goal of discussing sexual topics", the suit states.

"Google's open hostility for conservative thought is paired with invidious discrimination on the basis of race and gender, barred by law". Damore, who also filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board, appeared to embrace his rising political visibility, posing in a T-shirt with the word "Goolag" written in a multicolored style that mimicked Google's familiar logo. In an interview with CNBC, for example, he compared being a conservative at Google to "being gay in the 1950s".

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Liz Fong-Jones, a site reliability engineering manager at Google, is alleged to have "repeatedly discriminated against Caucasian males".

The suit includes as evidence of discrimination a meeting held in March ("Women's History Month") in which two women, Ruth Porat, the Chief Financial Officer of Google, and Eileen Naughton, the Human Resources Director of Google.

The class-action lawsuit suggests that there may be many other current and former Google employees who similarly suffered. At the time of his ouster, Sundar Pichai, the chief executive of Google, described Damore's comments as "offensive", arguing they violating the company's Code of Conduct and would advance "harmful gender stereotypes in the workplace". He claimed that women's "neuroticism" and men's "higher drive for status" are among the factors that contribute to gender disparities in tech.

The company has never given any indication that it fired Damore for his political views.

All this is happening while Google is fighting back claims that women at the company have been systematically underpaid. It's not a totally surprising filing given Damore filed a federal labor complaint a year ago and began working with Dhillon during August 2017 on "fact gathering" - looking for other white dudes who felt wronged by Google - for what would eventually become today's complaint.

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