Fired engineer James Damore sues Google for discriminating against conservative white males

James Damore, the Google employee who was fired last year after his memo about diversity efforts at the company went viral, has filed a lawsuit against his former employer. Damore’s suit, which is joined by another ex-Google engineer named David Gudeman, claims that the company discriminates against conservatives and against white males. From Fox News:

“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,” the lawsuit alleged. “This is the essence of discrimination—Google formed opinions about and then treated Plaintiffs not based on their individual merits, but rather on their membership in groups with assumed characteristics.”

“Google employees and managers strongly preferred to hear the same orthodox opinions regurgitated repeatedly, producing an ideological echo chamber, a protected, distorted  bubble of groupthink,” the lawsuit adds. “When Plaintiffs challenged Google’s illegal employment practices, they were openly threatened and subjected to harassment and retaliation from Google.”

The lawsuit itself is available for download here. It paints a detailed picture of some specific instances at the company when senior executives told employees that race and gender were to be taken into account in hiring and that this stance was not open for debate:

On March 30, 2017, Damore attended a weekly company-wide meeting called a “TGIF meeting.” These weekly meetings were used as an avenue for employees to connect and discuss
certain topics involving Google.

The TGIF meeting on March 30, 2017 was entitled “Women’s History Month,” and Google brought in two presenters for this get-together: Ruth Porat (“Porat”), the Chief Financial
Officer of Google, and Eileen Naughton (“Naughton”), the Human Resources Director of Google.

During the March 30, 2017 TGIF meeting, either Porat or Naughton pointed out and shamed individual departments at Google in which women comprised less than 50% of the workforce. Alternatively, they applauded and praised departments, such as the sales department, where women comprised more than 50% of the workforce.

During the event, Porat and Naughton also discussed that when looking at groups of people for promotions or for leadership opportunities on new projects, Google would be taking into
account gender and ethnic demographics. They then mentioned that Google’s racial and gender preferences in hiring were not up for debate, because this was morally and economically the best thing to do for Google.

At a subsequent gathering in June, the “Diversity and Inclusion Summit,” the same message was repeated. During a breakout session, Damore spoke to a human resources person at the company about his concerns and the HR person agreed with him [emphasis added]:

At the Summit, Damore spoke with Meghana Rao (“Rao”) from Google’s Human Resources department (“Google HR”). Damore told Rao that he believed some of the positions taken
by Google were divisive and misguided. Specifically, Damore mentioned that it seemed like Google was elevating political correctness over merit.

Rao responded to Damore’s comment by stating “some of the political things at Google were a problem.” They discussed how some Google employees with conservative views and values did not feel included, and Rao mentioned how she, and other HR representatives, had received similar complaints in the past from employees with conservative views.

Damore’s memo, the one that went viral and prompted his firing, was written in response to a call at the end of this diversity summit meeting for feedback on the presentation. A third diversity training in July was organized by the “Unbiasing Group.” When Damore expressed his concerns at this meeting, he was laughed at:

At the in-person training, entitled “Bias Busting,” Google discussed how biases against women exist in the workplace, and how “white male privilege” exists in the workplace. The training was run by the “Unbiasing Group” at Google, and there were approximately 20 Google employees present. Damore disagreed with this one-sided approach. When Damore verbalized his dissent and his concerns with the one-sided presentation, other employees, including managers, laughed at him derisively. They considered his views to be conservative, and thus flawed and worthy of disparagement.

After Damore was fired in early August, Google allowed employees to give one another Peer Bonuses for disagreeing with him:

The Google Recognition Team allowed employees to give fellow employees “Peer Bonuses” for arguing against Damore’s political viewpoints. Peer Bonuses were typically reserved for
outstanding work performance or for going above and beyond an employee’s job duties. Defending the liberal agenda, or defending violations of California employment law, is not in any Google employee’s job description.

All of this comes from just the first dozen or so pages dealing with James Damore and his firing. The lawsuit goes on to claim the company tolerated other employees recommending conservatives be fired for their opinions. One employee, a manager, even recommended creating a blacklist of people who make diversity difficult.