Fired White Male Google Engineer Sues Over Workplace Discrimination

The former Google engineer responsible for the anti-woman screed arguing the case for fewer females in tech is suing the tech giant for firing him. He claims he is being discriminated against as a white male with conservative political views, including support for sexist-in-chief Donald Trump.

James Damore penned the controversial memo that circulated at Google, in which he took the time to meticulously note multiple ways that he believes women are unfit for working in the tech sector—including “neuroticism,” men’s “higher drive for status” and women’s greater penchant for work-life balance than men. The memo was 10 pages long and came with charts and citations—It’s clearly an issue he feels passionately, perhaps obsessively, about.

Alas for this Don Draper of Mountain View, it turned out that such a retrograde, 1950s attitude is not one that Google or its parent company, Alphabet, shares. It quickly distanced itself from the memo, saying the screed does not represent the company’s stance on workplace diversity. Soon after, in August, it sent Damore packing, with Google CEO Sundar Pichai explaining that portions of the manifesto “violate our Code of Conduct and cross the line by advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace.”

Now, Damore has filed a proposed class action in Santa Clara County Superior Court in California, alleging workplace discrimination and retaliation, along with another fired Google engineer, David Gudeman. Gudeman was let go after he called a co-worker a terrorist on a company forum simply because, HR said, he happened to be Muslim.

“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 reads. It also alleges that Google has a “secret blacklist” of conservative types in the media who are blocked from entering the company’s offices.

Poor conservative white men—they just can’t catch a break! Apparently, these guys haven’t heard that promulgating workplace harassment of colleagues on the basis of their religion or gender isn’t generally something the courts look favorably on. Also, arguing that the company discriminates against people that are white and male when the majority of its workforce is, well, white and male, might be a tough sell. So, I predict there may be more heartache and “injustice” to come for Damore, Gudeman et al.

All of that said, there could be a few inches of daylight in what seems like an otherwise ludicrous set of allegations: In California it’s illegal to discriminate in the workplace on the basis of political views, so if Damore’s attorney can successfully argue that his feelings against women in tech are actually part of his political stance rather than bald-faced misogyny, then they may be awarded damages. Also, Damore said that Google actually encouraged him to circulate his note—if that’s the case, the decision to fire him becomes much more murky.

For its part, Google seemed unperturbed, and merely said in a statement: “We look forward to defending against Mr. Damore’s lawsuit in court.”

What’s Hot on Infosecurity Magazine?