Google fires employee behind anti-diversity memo

CEO Sundar Pichai said James Damore crossed the line by pushing gender stereotypes in last week's internal memo. Image TheUSBPort

CEO Sundar Pichai said James Damore crossed the line by pushing gender stereotypes in last week's internal memo. Image TheUSBPort

The manifesto was quickly embraced by some, particularly on the political right, branding him a courageous truth-teller.

He said: "Censorship is for losers".

"Women & men deserve respect. That includes not firing them for politely expressing ideas but rather arguing back", Assange tweeted.

While it's true the U.S. Constitution grants Damore the right to express himself, the First Amendment protects citizens' free speech rights from being restricted by the government, not employers.

Damore revealed he had been dismissed in an email sent to various news outlets. A Harvard spokeswoman said Damore only completed a master's in systems biology, a field that uses quantitative methods to study biological systems such as cells and organisms. He could not immediately be reached on Tuesday.

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Another law professor, who agreed to speak only on the condition of anonymity because he had worked for Silicon Valley companies, described the case as hard but not impossible.

The controversy has come at a sensitive time for Google, which is under investigation by the United States government after accusations of gender pay inequality, and has been forced to hand over pay records.

Google has denied it has had done any such thing, maintaining that their salaries are fair.

According to these current and previous employees, women tend to earn comparably less than men and struggle in "culture that is hostile to women". But as the value of top-notch programming became clear, it became a mostly male domain and the vast majority of programmers in the tech industry are now men.

"Despite the broad official push for diversity from tech companies, there's still a big chunk of the employee base that holds such views and wishes they could air them more freely". Ellen Pao's gender-discrimination lawsuit against venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers in 2015 also brought the issue to light, and more women are speaking up to say they've been sidelined in the male-dominated industry, especially in engineering roles. "What they had to have known they did is create a new hero for people who are not on board with diversity and inclusion". He joined Google as an intern in 2013 and worked as a software engineer at the company since December that year.

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James Damore found the diversity programmes of Google secretive and shameful.

"He's walking dangerously between who he is personally and who he is professionally", Ledbetter said in an interview.

The Google engineer who penned a controversial anti-diversity essay has confirmed he is no longer working for the firm, after being fired for "perpetuating gender stereotypes".

He said that after the training, he wrote the memo to clarify his thoughts.

"We need to stop assuming that gender gaps imply sexism". "I'm advocating for quite the opposite: treat people as individuals, not as just another member of their group (tribalism)". And to lose a job like that simply because of a misjudged and misguided memo isn't really the right way to go.

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He said that before his dismissal he had submitted a charge to the US National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) accusing Google's senior management of attempting to shame him into silence.

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