from the conversation-starter dept.
Submitted via IRC for TheMightyBuzzard
Alphabet Inc.'s Google has fired an employee who wrote an internal memo blasting the web company's diversity policies, creating a firestorm across Silicon Valley. James Damore, the Google engineer who wrote the note, confirmed his dismissal in an email, saying that he had been fired for "perpetuating gender stereotypes." He said he's "currently exploring all possible legal remedies."
[...] Earlier on Monday, Google CEO Sundar Pichai sent a note to employees that said portions of the memo "violate our Code of Conduct and cross the line by advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace." But he didn't say if the company was taking action against the employee. A Google representative, asked about the dismissal, referred to Pichai's memo.
[...] After the controversy swelled, Danielle Brown, Google's new vice president for diversity, integrity and governance, sent a statement to staff condemning Damore's views and reaffirmed the company's stance on diversity. In internal discussion boards, multiple employees said they supported firing the author, and some said they would not choose to work with him, according to postings viewed by Bloomberg News.
"We are unequivocal in our belief that diversity and inclusion are critical to our success as a company," Brown said in the statement. "We'll continue to stand for that and be committed to it for the long haul."
[Update: Apparently Julian Assange has offered James Damore a job, saying that "Censorship is for losers". - Fnord666]
From The Verge:
Google didn't violate labor laws by firing engineer James Damore for a memo criticizing the company's diversity program, according to a recently disclosed letter from the US National Labor Relations Board. The lightly redacted statement is written by Jayme Sophir, associate general counsel of the NLRB's division of advice; it dates to January, but was released yesterday, according to Law.com. Sophir concludes that while some parts of Damore's memo were legally protected by workplace regulations, "the statements regarding biological differences between the sexes were so harmful, discriminatory, and disruptive as to be unprotected."
Damore filed an NLRB complaint in August of 2017, after being fired for internally circulating a memo opposing Google's diversity efforts. Sophir recommends dismissing the case; Bloomberg reports that Damore withdrew it in January, and that his lawyer says he's focusing on a separate lawsuit alleging discrimination against conservative white men at Google. NLRB records state that its case was closed on January 19th.
There are White House Staff positions open, I hear.
Gizmodo got their hands on an internal memo gone viral at Google that criticizes extreme biases and blind promotion of diversity. The memo's author confronts the practice of silencing such minority opinions through shame:
"Despite what the public response seems to have been, I've gotten many personal messages from fellow Googlers expressing their gratitude for bringing up these very important issues which they agree with but would never have the courage to say or defend because of our shaming culture and the possibility of being fired. This needs to change."
Are these hints of the writing on the proverbial wall? One fears the diversity pendulum will break rather than be allowed to swing back.
[Update: Google has written a memo to its employees about the document. - ed]
Google's CEO, Sundar Pichai, canceled a scheduled all-hands staff meeting—moments before it was scheduled to begin—meant to address concerns over a controversial essay published by former employee James Damore.
In an email to staff, Pichai explained that questions from employees had been leaked and that, in some cases, specific employees' identities were revealed, exposing them to harassment and threats. Instead of today's large-scale meeting, which was to be livestreamed to Google's 60,000 employees worldwide, smaller groups will meet sometime in the future.
"We had hoped to have a frank open discussion today as we always do to bring us together and move forward. But our Dory questions appeared externally this afternoon, and on some websites Googlers are now being named personally," Pichai said in the email.
Also at CNET.