The Google engineer fired over his controversial 'diversity memo' is suing the company, alleging discrimination

Key Points
  • James Damore, the engineer fired over his internal memo criticizing Google's diversity efforts, is suing the company.
  • The class-action lawsuit alleges that Google "discriminated against employees for their perceived conservative political views," as well as due to their "male gender" and "Caucasian race."

James Damore, the engineer after his internal memo criticizing the company's diversity efforts went viral, has filed a proposed class-action lawsuit against the company.

Damore's original memo, which , criticized Google's culture as "left leaning" and argued that women in engineering were paid less than men because of their biological differences, not because of hiring practices, among other topics. It sparked a discussion about rampant sexism in Silicon Valley, and Google said that portions of the memo were contrary to the company's "basic values" and Code of Conduct.

The lawsuit, which was filed in the Santa Clara Superior Court on Monday, alleges that Google "discriminated against employees for their perceived conservative political views," as well as due to their "male gender" and "Caucasian race" and then "systematically punished" them.

David Gudeman — another former Google employee, who was fired in December 2016 — is also listed as a plaintiff. The suit alleges that he was fired for his comments on a coworker's thread about being targeted by the FBI for his religion.

The lawsuit seeks to represent all Google employees who have been discriminated against for being male, Caucasian or conservative and seeks monetary, non-monetary and punitive damages.

"Google employees who expressed views deviating from the majority view at Google on political subjects raised in the workplace and relevant to Google's employment policies and its business, such as 'diversity' hiring policies, 'bias sensitivity,' or 'social justice' were/are singled out, mistreated, and systematically punished and terminated from Google, in violation of their legal rights," the lawsuit states.

The suit also alleges that Google has "open hostility for conservative thought," that Damore and others were "ostracized, belittled and punished" for their views, that the company is an "ideological echo chamber" that uses "illegal hiring quotas" at the expense of white males.

The lawsuit comes after Damore has spent the several months since his firing talking to press about discrimination and how Google "betrayed" him, including one conversation where he compared being a conservative at Google to "being gay in the 1950s."

During a press conference, Harmeet K. Dhillon, the lawyer representing the case, said Google isn't the only company guilty of this kind of prejudice and that she hopes the lawsuit will act as a wake-up call for Silicon Valley, where the "only acceptable form of discrimination" is against "conservatives and white men."

A Google spokesperson said the company "looks forward to defending against Mr. Damore's lawsuit in court."

Meanwhile, Google is also facing a class-action lawsuit for gender pay discrimination.

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