Why James Damore Wants To Sue After Google FIRED Him For His Anti-Woman 'Manifesto' (And Who Just Offered Him A JOB)

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He claimed that women are not "biologically" suited for leadership positions.

If you’re not familiar with the name “James Damore,” you probably haven’t been on social media recently. 

If the name still doesn’t ring a bell, perhaps you know him better by the headlines he’s inspired headlines like “Google Employee's Anti-Diversity Manifesto Goes 'Internally Viral'” or “Google Fires Engineer Who Wrote Memo Questioning Women in Tech.”

The story was first reported on Vice’s Motherboard site earlier this week — a software engineer, later revealed to be James Damore, posted a 10-page manifesto document to an internal discussion group for employees which criticized recent diversity hiring initiatives at Google, one of the biggest technology companies in the world.

The memo argued that “ideological diversity” was more important than gender diversity and that women are not as “biologically” suited for work in technology or leadership positions.

Perhaps predictably, many people at Google objected to the suggestion that female employees were biologically inferior to male employees, inspiring several of them to lambast Damore’s arguments on social media and share the manifesto with news sites.

You can read Damore’s full document, titled “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber” here, but the primary cause for the backlash against his memo stems from his argument that diversity hiring initiatives hurt men (rather than helping women).

Here are some excerpts from his memo:

  • … women relatively prefer jobs in social or artistic areas.
  • … This leads to women generally having a harder time negotiating salary, asking for raises, speaking up, and leading.
  • … humans are generally biased towards protecting females.
  • … Once we acknowledge that not all differences are socially constructed or due to discrimination, we open our eyes to a more accurate view of the human condition which is necessary if we actually want to solve problems.
  • … I’m simply stating that the distribution of 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.

(Motherboard created an excellent breakdown of the sources that Damore cites in his argument, which you can read here.)

Following the reveal of Damore’s memo (and his identity), a number of things happened in quick succession:

First, Danielle Brown, Google’s Vice President of Diversity, Integrity and Governance, issued a statement, which criticized Damore’s document for advancing “incorrect assumptions about gender.” She also stated that employees should “feel safe sharing their opinions. But that discourse needs to work alongside the principles of equal employment found in our Code of Conduct, policies, and anti-discrimination laws.”

Next, her statement was quickly followed by a company-wide email titled “Our Words Matter” from Google’s chief executive officer, Sundar Pichai, who announced that Damore had been fired for violating the company’s code of conduct and “advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace.”

The announcement of Damore’s firing, however, swiftly became almost as divisive as the reaction to his original memo.

Damore told various news outlet that he was considering legal action, telling The New York Times that, “I have a legal right to express my concerns about the terms and conditions of my working environment and to bring up potentially illegal behavior, which is what my document does.”

While it remains unclear if Damore, as an at-will employee, did have the legal right to make his statements about gender without fear of repercussions from his employer  or how diversity programs can be seen as “illegal behavior”  his termination quickly turned the engineer into martyr figure for anti-censorship and alt-right groups online.

Here are just a few of the subsequent tweets and Reddit posts, which have labeled Damore as a wrongly maligned hero  largely from people who agree with his views on diversity and gender.

Reddit

(Alternately, Gizmodo uncovered evidence that Damore took place in a “sexist” skit during his time at Harvard University, which was considered offensive enough at the time that the administration issued a formal apology.)

However, not all of Damore’s support has been coming from Twitter and Reddit lurkers. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange tweeted support of Damore and offered him a job:

Additionally, alt-right crowdfunding groups have begun raising money for Damore, the conservative National Review compared the engineer to Martin Luther, and several other pundits have claimed that Damore was fired for deviating “from the talking points of the liberal left" (to quote Andrea Torba, CEO of Gab).

The whole ugly incident is showing how divided we are, as a society, when it comes our opinions on gender and censorship.

Some outlets are arguing that all Damore did was “point out the differences between men and women,” but others claim that Damore’s arguments aren’t based on fact and are discriminatory in nature.

(One wonders what the reaction would’ve been if Damore argued that certain races  rather than genders  were more inclined to succeed in leadership and tech positions.)

There definitely does not seem to be any scientific consensus backing the legitimacy of Damore’s biological claims that women aren’t suited for the tech industry (quite the contrary), so is posting specious theories about gender enough to justify his firing?

 

RELATED: 5 BIG Things To Remember About The Differences Between Men and Women

 

Or does Google retain the right to fire any employee for any reason? Does a privately-owned company actually have to guarantee their employees the right to free speech on any topic, during company time, using company resources?

One suspects these topics will be debated to death during any legal action Damore might bring against Google, but, in the meantime, his memo and his firing have ignited a social media firestorm about free speech and political correctness in the workplace. 

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