Google discrimination lawsuit originally filed by James Damore will proceed to discovery

James Damore was fired by Google back in August 2017 after he wrote a memo suggesting the predominance of male engineers at the company was partly the result of innate differences between men and women rather than discrimination. In January of 2018, Damore filed a lawsuit alleging the company discriminated against whites, males, and conservatives. Today a judge denied Google’s third attempt to have the lawsuit dismissed. From the San Jose Mercury News:

The ruling by Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Brian Walsh means the case, which Damore exited late last year in favor of arbitration, can move forward into the discovery phase…

The court denied three different Google motions to dismiss the lawsuit. Now the plaintiffs can request access to internal Google documents to try to support their allegations, which also include some people being “denied employment because of their actual and perceived conservative political activities and affiliations, and their status as actual or perceived Asian or Caucasian male job applicants,” according to the lawsuit.

As mentioned above, Damore exited the lawsuit but two other men are still pursuing it with the same attorneys. The Hollywood Reporter describes the backstory of the current lawsuit:

Damore, along with ex-Googler David Gudeman, in January 2018 filed a class action lawsuit against the tech giant. They claim the company is an ideological echo chamber and it “singled out, mistreated and systematically punished and terminated” employees who disagreed with the majority view about “diversity,” “bias sensitivity” and “social justice.”

They later amended their complaint to add as plaintiffs two men who were rejected for jobs at Google, Stephen McPherson and Michael Burns, and another employee who ultimately voluntarily dismissed his claims…

Damore and Gudeman in November agreed to arbitrate their claims against Google, which left in open court only the claims from McPherson and Burns that they were passed over for jobs because Google unlawfully prioritizes hiring women and certain minorities to the detriment of male, white and Asian applicants and discriminates against politically conservative applicants.

In his ruling today, Judge Walsh did suggest that he “has doubts regarding the viability of the putative Political Subclass.” However, he’s willing to allow the plaintiffs to at least make the case for it after they’ve had a chance at discovery. Harmeet Dhillon, the lawyer representing McPherson and Burns released a statement:

At the hearing, the court denied Google’s motions for judgment on the pleadings, to strike, and its demurrer. Now the case moves into the discovery phase, allowing the plaintiffs’ attorneys to seek access to Google’s internal documents, as well as other potential evidence to support their allegations, in anticipation of a motion for class certification.

Will there actually be documents to support discriminatory hiring decisions? To be clear, I don’t have much doubt that the company’s culture actively discourages conservatives males, but the nature of any culture is that the rules (usually) aren’t written down for outsiders to examine. Instead, they are absorbed from social cues and through private conversations. I suspect that’s how things work at Google, but who knows. Maybe the progressive monoculture is so arrogant that people have actually written memos expressing their biases. It will certainly be interesting to see what the discovery process turns up.