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Fired Google engineer Damore says the company is hiring and promoting workers based on race or gender

  • Fired Google engineer James Damore says the company is hiring and promoting workers "based on race or gender"
  • James Damore told CNBC he is "pursuing legal remedies" against the company over his firing
  • Damore was fired by Google after 3 1/2 years for writing a memo critical of the company's diversity efforts

James Damore, the former Google engineer fired over a memo criticizing the company's diversity efforts, says his former employer is discriminating in its hiring practices based on race or gender.

Damore, whose online post has divided Google and ignited a national firestorm, told CNBC's "Closing Bell" that Google is "treating people differently based on race or gender."

The company "is pressing individual managers to increase diversity" and is "using race or gender" to decide which workers are promoted and which teams job candidates are placed on, Damore said.

He also said he is "pursuing legal remedies" against the company over his firing.

Google, through a spokesperson, declined comment.

Damore was fired last week after 3 1/2 years as an engineer over a post he wrote arguing that among the reasons there are so few women in technology were gender-based preferences and characteristics.

He wrote the memo after attending what he called "a private diversity summit" at the company.

Damore said he "was very surprised" at his firing because he "was just trying to help" the company fix what he felt was a problem.

Google's management, however, said the memo promoted harmful gender stereotypes and violated its code of conduct.

Damore said it was "hard to regret" sending the memo, because he hopes some good comes out of it. But he said "I wouldn't have used the term 'neuroticism'" to describe female engineers.

In his 10-page memo, written a month ago, Damore called Alphabet unit Google an "echo chamber."

Yet by the end of last week, in an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal, he said the company was "almost like a cult."

Still, his criticism of his former employer was somewhat muted. "I support Google...I don't support anyone who wants to hurt Google," Damore told CNBC, adding that he doesn't support anyone calling for marches on the company.

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