Published: Tue, January 09, 2018
Markets | By Rosalie Gross

Google Sued for Anti-Conservative Bias by Fired Engineer

Google Sued for Anti-Conservative Bias by Fired Engineer

James Damore's class action lawsuit, filed January 8 with the Santa Clara Superior Court in California, alleges that employees who fit that description were "singled out, mistreated, and systematically punished and terminated from Google".

The lawsuit follows a complaint that Damore filed with the National Labor Relations Board in August on the basis that Google was "misrepresenting and shaming me in order to silence my complaints".

Google's vice president of diversity, integrity, and governance, Danielle Brown, said the memo "advanced incorrect assumptions about gender", in a statement shortly after Damore was sacked.

Damore - along with former software engineer David Gudeman, who is a co-plaintiff - allege that the tech firm discriminates against conservatives, white people, and men.

"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 Caucasian and/or males", the suit reads. It is seeking class action status for three groups of people who it claims have been similarly discriminated against: Conservatives, Caucasians, and men.

Google spokesman Ty Sheppard previously told CNNMoney that the company has strong policies against workplace retaliation, harassment and discrimination.

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Google fired Damore in August after he distributed a 3,000-word missive arguing that the "preferences and abilities of men and women 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". Google terminated Damore for the memo, saying it was contrary to the company's basic values and code of conduct.

Some legal experts have said Damore faces an uphill battle suing Google.

Google did not immediately return a request for comment. Unlike government employees, who have some free speech protections, private employees in the US have little legal recourse if companies choose to retaliate for things they say at work or at home.

Not only was the numerical presence of women celebrated at Google exclusively due to their gender, but the presence of Caucasians and males was mocked with "boos" during company-wide weekly meetings.

After the controversy swelled, Danielle Brown, Google's then-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.

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