Friday, 11 August 2017

Fired: Google Employee Who Wrote About Gender Equality Practices and Culture of Suppressing Honest Discussion

James Damore, who published a memo that discusses differences between men and women and criticizes Google's internal efforts to increase "diversity" and "gender equality," was fired by CEO Sundar Pichai this week.

The memo Damore wrote questions whether these policies are correct, and it argues men and women are naturally different and so differences in how they fit in in the economy or a business shouldn't all be put down to "sexism." He also argues that a Left-leaning culture at Google stifles honest discussion and debate.

The reply from Google came from new Diversity, Integrity and Governance CEO Danielle Brown, in which she wrote about the memo, which she described as "... expressing views on the natural abilities and characteristics of different genders, as well as whether one can speak freely of these things at Google ... . I found that it advanced incorrect assumptions about gender. 

"Part of building an open, inclusive environment means fostering a culture in which those with alternative views, including different political views, 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."

The decision to fire Damore was made after a serious discussion at Google. “Just like all of Google is struggling with this, we were not unanimous at first about whether what he wrote merited firing, although we all came around to it,” one top exec told Gizmodo. “But Sundar had to make a call about what kind of Google he wanted to stress and he did.”

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki was quoted, “While people may have a right to express their beliefs in public, that does not mean companies cannot take action when women are subjected to comments that perpetuate negative stereotypes about them based on their gender. Every day, companies take action against employees who make unlawful statements about co-workers, or create hostile work environments.”

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