Google has fired senior software engineer James Damore, who created quite a stir with his letter about how he believes men are better suited for tech jobs than women. In his article, Damore also criticized Googles diversity efforts.

Google employee
Photo by geralt (Pixabay)

Fired Google employee exploring legal options

As the memo went viral, CEO Sundar Pichai released a statement saying, “Portions of the memo violate our Code of Conduct and cross the line by advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace.”

Later, Bloomberg reported that the Google employee who had written the memo had been fired.

Pichai even had to cancel his family vacation, as the issue went too far and became public. In an internal memo, Pichai stated that he was traveling to Africa and Europe for business and started his family vacation this week.

“I have decided to return tomorrow as clearly there’s a lot more to discuss as a group – including how we create a more inclusive environment for all,” Pichai said.

Damore also confirmed that he had been fired, stating that he has looked into all possible legal formalities. The former Google employee said he had submitted a complaint to the United National Labor Relations Board, claiming that Google is trying to shame him into silence.

“It’s illegal to retaliate against an NLRB charge,” he wrote in an email to Reuters.

Though Damore said he is looking into legal options, exactly what legal authority he is invoking is not yet known. In the United States, non-union or “at will” employees can be fired for various reasons other than performance, notes Reuters.

Diversity in the workplace is a big issue

In the memo, the former Google employee stated that biological differences between men and women are to be blamed for why men are seen in large numbers in tech department and leadership roles. The senior engineer also stated that men have a higher drive for “status.” Damore stated in his memo that while men’s strive for status leads them to leadership positions that require “long, stressful hours,” women are more inclined towards work/ life balance.

He also did not approve of Google’s diversity policy and termed it as an “ideological echo chamber” that made it hard to dissent from “Google’s left bias” and “politically correct monoculture.” Further, Damore said the search giant is not doing enough to support diversity in viewpoints and ideologies. He also criticized Google’s policy of offering mentoring and other opportunities to its employees on gender or race.

Over the years, some of the biggest tech companies have looked into various social issues ranging from climate change to transgender rights. However, most have done little to bring more female and minority workers on board. According to a report, 26% of computer and mathematics jobs are held by women in the United States, a slight drop from 1960. The pay gap is yet another burning area in which women lag behind men. U.S. government data suggests that female computer and information systems managers get only 88 cents for each dollar paid to their male counterparts.

Last month, a judge ordered Google to submit salary records to the government as part of an investigation by the United States Department of Labor.