The author of the controversial memo that upended Google in August is suing the company, alleging that white, male conservatives are systematically discriminated against by Google.
James Damore was fired as an engineer after the manifesto, which questioned the benefits of diversity programs and suggested women may be biologically inferior engineers, was widely passed around the company. In a new lawsuit, he and another fired engineer claim that “employees who expressed views deviating from the majority view at Google on political subjects raised in the workplace and relevant to Google’s employment policies and its business, such as ‘diversity’ hiring policies, ‘bias sensitivity,’ or ‘social justice,’ were/are singled out, mistreated, and systematically punished and terminated from Google, in violation of their legal rights.”
Attorneys for Damore and the other engineer, David Gudeman, filed the lawsuit today in California’s Santa Clara Superior Court, and are seeking to represent others whose rights they claim were also violated — specifically, the company’s conservative white men. The lawsuit contains dozens of pages of internal Google communications that, according to the suit, demonstrate anti-conservative sentiment at the company, although that characterization seems debatable in several of the cited examples.
Damore became a minor celebrity in some parts of the online right after the memo leaked out.
“To suggest a group of our colleagues have traits that make them less biologically suited to that work is offensive and not OK,” CEO Sundar Pichai said in an email to staff after Damore was fired.
Gudeman was fired in 2016 after making comments about a Muslim colleague. According to the suit, Google human resources said the comments suggested Gudeman was linking the colleague to terrorism. The lawsuit does not contain the full exchange but says Gudeman claimed, after a colleague said he had been targeted by the FBI, that “the FBI could have possibly found something interesting” related to the colleague’s trip to Pakistan.
Meanwhile, Google is fighting back claims that women at the company have been systematically underpaid. After a judge dismissed an initial complaint, a group tried again by amending their complaint this month.
“We look forward to defending against Mr. Damore’s lawsuit in court,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement.