1. TechSpot is dedicated to computer enthusiasts and power users. Ask a question and give support. Join the community here.
    TechSpot is dedicated to computer enthusiasts and power users.
    Ask a question and give support.
    Join the community here, it only takes a minute.
    Dismiss Notice

Author of anti-diversity manifesto "exploring legal remedies" after Google fired him

By midian182 · 39 replies
Aug 8, 2017
Post New Reply
  1. An unknown Google employee’s 10-page manifesto that was revealed over the weekend has caused anger for its controversial statements on diversity and women in the workplace. Now, the author has been unmasked and fired from his position for “perpetuating gender stereotypes.”

    Former engineer James Damore's document, called “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber,” claimed, among other things, that biological issues prevented women from being as successful as men in the tech industry, and that Google had created a “politically correct monoculture.”

    While not everyone, including some Google employees, disagreed with all of Damore’s statements, it led to the company’s new head of diversity, Danielle Brown, sending out an internal memo that stated: “Diversity and inclusion are a fundamental part of our values and the culture we continue to cultivate.”

    But fallout from the note continued, leading to CEO Sundar Pichai ending his family vacation early to try and deal with the situation.

    "I have been on work related travel in Africa and Europe the past couple of weeks and had just started my family vacation here this week," wrote Pichai in a company-wide memo obtained by Recode . "I have decided to return tomorrow as clearly there's a lot more to discuss as a group — including how we create a more inclusive environment for all."

    Pichai, who has scheduled a company meeting for Thursday, added that “portions of the memo violate our Code of Conduct and cross the line by advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace […] To suggest a group of our colleagues have traits that make them less biologically suited to that work is offensive and not OK.”

    Part of the manifesto alleges that Google employees with conservative views have to “stay in the closet” to avoid discrimination. Pichai addressed this, writing that “people must feel free to express dissent.”

    Damore’s firing will doubtlessly add more fuel to what has turned into an explosive topic. As for the man himself, it seems Google hasn’t heard the last of him. In an email to Reuters, Damore said he was "currently exploring all possible legal remedies."

    Permalink to story.

  2. namesrejected

    namesrejected TS Guru Posts: 398   +301

    " Part of the manifesto alleges that Google employees with conservative views have to “stay in the closet” to avoid discrimination. Pichai addressed this, writing that “people must feel free to express dissent.” "

    But your fired for having different views and expressing them.

    Geez, just don't feed the Troll, its that simple.
  3. BSim500

    BSim500 TS Evangelist Posts: 530   +992

    Just what I need first thing for my morning tech site news browse - more raging "dog whistle response" identity politics coverage available only in 10,001 other tabloid / social media outlets with varying degrees of "twisting the context" and "selective snipping" 'appeal to ridicule' style "reporting", followed by the usual "pre-packaged outrage" and "manufactured indignation" based 'social warrior' commentary...
  4. NicktheWVAHick

    NicktheWVAHick TS Addict Posts: 136   +107

    Stay quiet and keep working. There's nothing to see here. (1945 or 2017?)
    psycros, Hexic, Kotters and 3 others like this.
  5. Reachable

    Reachable TS Evangelist Posts: 309   +156

    This makes me almost completely speechless. The public relations pressure is so great that Google felt they had to fire an employee who made a reasoned and respectful argument. I'm a leftist, but I disavow fiercely the culture of political correctness and repression of speech that gets lumped together as 'left' hand and hand with causes that are truly progressive. It's truly frightening to think that there's a huge wave in the culture now that doesn't realize the egregious injustice that the firing of the manifesto's author represents.
  6. erickmendes

    erickmendes TS Evangelist Posts: 493   +218

    As Evelyn Beatrice Hall said, “I don’t agree with what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” ... He got his freedom of speech, he can say whatever he want... By the way... I'm going to read this manifesto, because I think if he be clear in it that it's he personnal opinion, them I think he shouldn't be penalized. But if he wrote it as if it was in behalf of Google, than it's clearly that the company have the right to penalize who leaked this manifesto, and the writer if he intended this to be leaked, not (only) because of it's content.

    Still, it's content should be debated because a lot of people agree with his view, and a lot don't, and the concerns it address are really important. If we were in the so called modern society/civilized world, ideas should be discussed, but we live in a FUD and propaganda world...

    Update: Just finished reading the manifesto... It's a well writen piece, not as biased as the media is saying... Seems like it's like most of the things happens nowadays in media... It's all just fuzz.
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2017
    psycros, m4a4, Reehahs and 3 others like this.
  7. Rippleman

    Rippleman TS Evangelist Posts: 870   +393

    Diversity is the biggest lie of this era. Can it be a good thing? Yes. However, it is MORE likely to be a bad thing. When you hire/fire, recruit/exclude, promote/demote, position, give, move/remove ANYONE based upon their gender or color of skin, you indeed ARE committing racism AND/OR sexism.
    CanadEan84, psycros, mosu and 2 others like this.
  8. Nobina

    Nobina TS Evangelist Posts: 1,668   +1,137

    Imagine a world where you get fired from your job because you don't 100% agree with the companies ridiculous ideology. Just kidding, it's already here.

    A couple of years from now you won't get hired because you have the necessary skills for the job but because you agree with the companies views on race and gender. This has became exactly like religion. Even the traditional leftists don't agree with this bullshit.
    psycros likes this.
  9. Both. They're even trying to appropriate the swastika: https://www.advocate.com/commentary/2017/8/07/you-can-now-buy-rainbow-swastika-t-shirts-please-dont

    I said it weeks ago...these people are actual Nazis.

    What you are seeing are two of the three immutable laws of SJWs being demonstrated. 1) SJWs always lie, 2) SJWs always project.

    They claim to be about inclusion and diversity, but they are not. They are about "otherness" and if you aren't "other" enough, you are purged. They claim their opponents are fascists, yet they proudly punish people economically and socially for dissent. They are Nazis who traded a man with a narrow mustache and some oratory skills for a purple-haired soy bean in the sky.

    Insofar as Damore's legal case...his lawyers are going to have a field day. Someone outside of Google's SJW ranks has begun leaking internal communications that demonstrate systematic discrimination against employees right of extreme left. This is going to be fun.
    CanadEan84 and psycros like this.
  10. m4a4

    m4a4 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,237   +760

    At this point, I hope he takes legal action. From what people can tell, he got fired because feelings, not facts and he has the opportunity to fight that.
    psycros likes this.
  11. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 3,071   +1,548

    Well, I personally think you are misunderstanding here. In this case, the fact that it was circulated well beyond whoever his intended audience was essentially makes him a mouthpiece for Google - which is way beyond his pay grade, and they are entitled to fire him for that.

    Honestly, if he does make it to court with this, my bet is that his free speech rights will not apply because his memo could be considered libelous and slanderous - which SCOTUS, (you guys do understand that the US is based on three branches of govt., don't you?) has ruled that slanderous and libelous speech are not protected under first amendment rights because they have no place in the open discussion of ideas.

    But, if some of the posts here see libelous/slanderous speech, they seem to assume that it is protected and shout that the world is coming to an end because they cannot libel/slander someone.

    That said, perhaps something positive will come out of this. Perhaps gagme will take a closer look at itself and work toward genuine improvement - which, BTW, means hiring other than white, conservative, christian males.
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2017
    Lionvibez and mbrowne5061 like this.
  12. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 3,071   +1,548

    The question may be is he covered by whistle blower laws? If not, I doubt that the fun will be as great as you think. Instead of circulating this behind closed doors, IMO, if he felt that strongly about it he just should have gone to the Briebart or some other "news" outlet and went public rather than try to play CIA agent in gagme's midst.
  13. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 4,439   +2,891

    Once again, Google shows it's ignorance in the work place. It claims diversity then eliminates anyone that dares have a different opinion than their own. In any case "free speech" laws do not apply because they are a corporation and are exempt from such policies. Now, if the young man had created and published this outside of Google and not identified himself as a Google employee he might have a slight opportunity but most corporate contracts cover ALL aspects of an employee's behavior, speech, etc. that can be deemed to be "inapproperiate and/or demeaning to the image" of the company.
    psycros and Kotters like this.
  14. Bubbajim

    Bubbajim TS Evangelist Posts: 503   +481

    I'm not from the US but even I can tell that what you've said isn't relevant. This isn't anything to do with first amendment speech because it's nothing to do with the Government. Massive and influential though they may be, Google isn't yet the government of the US.

    That's not to say that I *do* know how this will play out, I'm not a solicitor/lawyer, but from an outside perspective it looks like it won't go far. As far as I've read, California hasn't exactly got great worker rights in the first place.

    The situation is so much more complex than anyone is seems to be letting on, so I have no idea how this will play out, but I do think it's pretty disgraceful to fire someone over a post which was courteous, balanced and intended for internal discussion, regardless of whether agree with the contents. The irony of being fired for speaking out, through an article on the dangers of speaking out, are just the rotten cherry on top.
    mosu and Reachable like this.
  15. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 3,071   +1,548

    Last edited: Aug 8, 2017
  16. Kotters

    Kotters TS Maniac Posts: 330   +223

    Why are we still continuing to call it an "Anti-diversity Memo"? It's outright disingenuous.
    psycros likes this.
  17. insect

    insect TS Evangelist Posts: 349   +132

    A lot of people must not have read the manifesto or Google's CEO's response.

    The CEO specifically stated that many of the topics were legitimate and worthy of discussion, but some of the points were "dangerous stereotypes" and that is what got him fired. For example, it's perfectly OK to say things like 'There may be other reason for female/male ratio imbalance at Google other than sexism' and then to investigate or use reasoned study (for example, fewer female graduates in the areas of hire or fewer years experience among females), but when you jump to 'and the reason is men's brains are better than females at this' (paraphrasing of course) then you've crossed the line because I'm pretty sure that's been shown to be untrue (and possibly the opposite - women are better at math when exposed as frequently as males). This person crossed that line.

    I'm sure Google will investigate many of the claims and start several group discussions on these topics, but as with all things, you have to have the science/facts to back your claims - otherwise it's possibly an offensive opinion.
    wiyosaya likes this.
  18. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 3,071   +1,548

    Not relevant to the case itself; however, my post was directed to the posters on this board that seem to think that first amendment rights do apply to this - which clearly they do not even if the author of the memo was entirely truthful. As well, the position the author of the memo holds within the company does not give him the right to speak for gagme - as he clearly seems to think he is doing. That is where I am coming from.

    I agree - if the guy gets a lawyer to represent him, it will not go far. His "right of free speech" clearly does not apply in this case.
  19. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 3,071   +1,548

    Sounds like you and I read the same memo. I found it blatantly unscientific in nature.
  20. kapital98

    kapital98 TS Maniac Posts: 311   +239

    Bubbajim, your comments are always excellent. I am an attorney and see these arguments constantly misunderstood.

    Basically, this has nothing to do with free speech. I'm sure Google makes you sign a long contract prior to working for them. Google does not have a union as far as I'm aware. California labor laws tend to be the most generous in the country (still, not very protective compared to Europe).

    I just read the memo. I disagree with a couple assertions but think that this was perfectly acceptable. This type of commentary is good for a vibrant discussion. With that said, this was obviously directed at Google employees and they can fire him essentially at will.

    There does not appear to be any legal discrimination. In other words, he wasn't fired for race, religion, etc. Disagreement over ideas *is not* discrimination. If you employee a Nazi and don't like what they have to say, you can fire them at any moment. If you don't like the color of the shoes your employee wears? Fire them. That's the state of labor laws in the US.
  21. kapital98

    kapital98 TS Maniac Posts: 311   +239

    We don't know the full picture. It is very possible there is additional information Google is withholding. For instance, he could have had past problems with coworkers. If Google doesn't like him, they can fire him for almost any reason. There is no legal recourse.

    With that said: I read the memo and most of it is accurate. He discusses things I disagree with (he's a libertarian, I'm a liberal). When doing so, he does so in a respectful and extremely analytical manner. Without context, Google should have never fired this. This seems to be their attempt to homogenize their workforce to fit with their preferences. That's legal -- but they should own it instead of hiding behind 'diversity'.

    As for the "media": It really only seems that left wing sources are upset. By that, I mean Mother Jones and the like. Moderate outlets, like CNN, have no preference and have pundits on both sides arguing about this.
  22. GregonMaui

    GregonMaui TS Enthusiast Posts: 83   +22

    The reason he was fired was not for expressing legitimate differences of opinion, he was fired for violating code of conduct which he agreed to abide by when he was employed and for continued employment. Bigotry, sexism, etc. are not conservative values, they are hate speech.

    wiyosaya likes this.
  23. kapital98

    kapital98 TS Maniac Posts: 311   +239

    The manifesto was not hate speech. Please read the memo (I think it's a good idea in general because it intelligently describes the current state of libertarian views in the tech industry). You may not agree with it, but it was neither hate nor intentionally incendiary.

    To put this in perspective, it was almost identical to the speech that Lawrence Summers gave at Harvard about a decade ago. At the time he was President of the University. He's a renowned economist who served in the Clinton administration and was the key architect behind Obama's first term economic policies.

    This really is much less a political issue and more a scientific/medical/sociological issue. Something that should be debated. I'm not against him being fired, Google can do what they want. But this was not hate speech. To say that is pre-preemptively suppressing all dissent.
    Tanstar likes this.
  24. Reachable

    Reachable TS Evangelist Posts: 309   +156

    You're stretching your rationalization way beyond the point where it breaks. He had no intention of being the public spokesperson for his company, and the fact that it leaked doesn't change his intention. It was an internal memo, for internal eyes, and every outsider is aware of that.

    Nor was it libelous or slanderous. An internal complaint is merely that, even if it leaks. However, although I'm not a lawyer, I'm not aware of anything that restricts Google's right to fire him. But that's not the point. The point is that they felt pressured to do so by prevailing forces in society. They probably didn't want to.

    And that's what's disturbing. Not that Google's libertarian prerogatives were being limited, but that in the overall big picture a person was punished for non-slanderous free speech, attacked by the public mob.

    And if a conservative can be punished, so can a liberal, and in fact the latter is far more likely to happen.
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2017
    mosu, namesrejected and Tanstar like this.
  25. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 3,200   +2,430

    This has less to do with SJW and more to do with Google not wanting to be sued.
    erickmendes likes this.

Similar Topics

Add your comment to this article

You need to be a member to leave a comment. Join thousands of tech enthusiasts and participate.
TechSpot Account You may also...