The senior engineer who was fired for writing a memo criticizing Google for pushing diversity has filed a lawsuit, saying the company discriminates against white men and conservatives.
James Damore wrote a controversial 10-page document last year blasting the company’s “left leaning” culture and attributing differences in pay between men and women in tech jobs partly to biological differences between genders.
His lawsuit says the company’s “open hostility for conservative thought is paired with invidious discrimination on the basis of race and gender” – that is, Caucasian and male. He is joined in the lawsuit by another former Google engineer, David Gudeman.
The lawsuit alleges that Google employees who expressed views deviating from the majority at Google on politics or on employment practices including “diversity hiring policies, bias sensitivity, and social justice” were “singled out, mistreated, and systematically punished and terminated from Google,” in violation of their legal rights.
The lawsuit was filed Monday in Santa Clara County Superior Court. A representative for Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The essay, called “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber,” set off a firestorm of outrage in August as it made the rounds within the company and then beyond.
“When it comes to diversity and inclusion, Google’s left bias has created a politically correct monoculture that maintains its hold by shaming dissenters into silence,” it read.
It argued that differences in pay between men and women in the technology sector are not entirely related to bias against women, but are partly attributable to biological differences between the genders.
It also called on Google to “stop alienating conservatives” and called into question practices like “unconscious bias” training for committees that promote employees.
“Women, on average, have more openness directed towards feelings and aesthetics rather than ideas. Women generally also have a stronger interest in people rather than things, relative to men.”
Damore stated that women tend to be more interested in people rather than things, “empathizing vs. systemizing,” whereas men have a higher drive for status and so tend to end up in leadership positions.
He also said that on average, women have more “neuroticism,” as defined as “higher anxiety, lower stress tolerance.”
Outrage from within and outside the company was swift, with #GoogleManifesto trending on Twitter.
Danielle Brown, at that time the Google vice president of diversity, responded to the document in a memo, writing that the document “advanced incorrect assumptions about gender” and that “it’s not a viewpoint that I or this company endorses, promotes or encourages.”
The company, which called the memo “offensive” and “harmful,” fired Damore, further elevating him as a victim of what his supporters called an overreaching “political correctness” and ideology rigidity within the tech industry. 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.
The Associated Press and the Washington Post contributed to this report.