Google has been hit with a class action lawsuit alleging it discriminates against white male conservatives.
Filed Monday in California state court in Silicon Valley, the 161 page suit by former Google engineers James Damore and David Gudeman includes an appendix of 87 screen shots of internal discussions by Google employees. Many of these are highly political; others condemn Damore and his views.
Damore was fired by Google in August after a 10-page memo arguing that biological differences were why there are so few women in tech and leadership positions went public. “The distribution of preferences and abilities of men and women,” he wrote, “differ in part due to biological causes and that these differences may explain why we don’t see equal representation of women in tech and leadership.”
Gudeman was terminated in December 2016 after he reportedly authored a memo challenging a Muslim coworker’s account of being investigated by the FBI solely because of his religion. He had previously been reprimanded for arguing against a memo posted on an internal discussion group. The memo by a female manager, according to the lawsuit, took the position “that any response but agreement to a statement about bias, prejudice, or privilege was a ‘derailment’.”
The lawsuit alleges Google discriminates against men, conservatives and whites. “Damore, Gudeman, and other class members were ostracized, belittled, and punished for their heterodox political views, and for the added sin of their birth circumstances of being Caucasians and/or males. This is the essence of discrimination..,” the suit declares. It goes on to charge, “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.”
Google’s only response to the suit was a tersely worded statement to Reuters: “We look forward to defending against Mr. Damore’s lawsuit in court.”
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The irony here is that Google is also being sued by three former female employees and the US Department of Labor. The Labor Department is demanding salary data and other information from the search giant as part of investigation into pay disparity there. In a court appearance, a Labor Department director testified, ““We found systemic compensation disparities against women pretty much across the entire workforce.”
The suit by the three women alleges that during their time with the company Google “discriminated and continues to discriminate against its female employees by paying female employees less than male employees with similar skills, experience, and duties.”
The additional irony is that the company is 69% male and 56% white. Asians are 35% of the Google workforce, according to the company’s most recent diversity report.
However, Damore’s suit stems from Google’s efforts to improve the imbalance both in gender and race. At a press conference Monday announcing the suit, Damore’s lawyer Harmeet Dhillon said Google was within its rights to have a workforce that reflected the national diversity. But, she said, establishing quotas for various groups is against the law. Dhillon, a prominent California Republican conservative, also said demanding ideological consistency with prevailing corporate political views is unfair. “People should not have to prove that they didn’t vote for the president to get a job at Google,” she said.