Google is being accused of discriminating against two former engineers. The male employees have said they want to represent all staff who have been discriminated against due to their “perceived conservative political views, male gender and Caucasian race”.
James Damore, a former engineer, was sacked in August 2017 after writing an internal memo questioning the biological capability of women to be in engineering roles. Damore claims in the lawsuit that white, male conservative employees at Google are “ostracized”, “belittled” and “punished” for holding political views that are completely different from those of Google executives. Damore has been joined in the class action suit by another former engineer at Google, Dave Gudeman who says Google “openly shames” managers who fail to meet goals, even booing them at meetings.
Damore and Gudeman claim in their lawsuit that Google employs illegal hiring quotas to fill posts with women and minorities. The former engineers said that men were “openly threatened and subjected to harassment and retaliation” at Google.
In Damore’s memo, he claims that women have a harder time leading than men and are “directed towards feelings and aesthetics rather than ideas”. The memo was supposed to remain internal and was written in response to a request for feedback from a diversity and inclusion summit he had attended. However, the memo was published online by design and tech website, Gizmodo, and it faced social media backlash against Damore and also caused debates about free speech in the workplace and diversity in Silicon Valley.
Google CEO, Sundar Pichai, said Damore’s memo had violated Google’s code of conduct and Damore had crossed “the line by advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace”. He also added: “To suggest a group of our colleagues have traits that make them less biologically suited to that work is offensive and not OK”.
Harmeet Dhillon, James Damore’s lawyer, believes the American multinational technology company has behaved illegally in firing him. “In California, your political views are a protected characteristic”. Both Mr. Damore and Mr. Gudeman said the company didn’t protect their employee with conservative views, for example, supporting US President Donald Trump.
The When Women Thrive Report has found that women have unique strengths in areas that are critical to advancing business. These strengths include: adaptability and inclusive team management. Men also have these strengths however, it’s important that employers allow both genders to shine at work by demonstrating their strengths. Organisations should use this to their greatest advantage because it means their employees will be more productive and they’ll achieve better results.
It’s extremely important that organisations provide their employees with equal opportunities, from as soon as they start until they leave. Providing the same training to everyone in the same job role ensures each employee is benefitting in the same way.
If you have any questions or need any advice in relation to gender discrimination, please contact a member of the HPC team:
T: 0844 800 5932