| # 10/jan/18 14:23|
Google, Twitter face new lawsuits alleging discrimination against conservative voices
James Damore, the former Google engineer who was fired after distributing a memo questioning the company’s diversity policies, filed a class-action lawsuit Monday claiming that the technology giant discriminates against white men and conservatives.
Damore’s suit came on the same day that conservative publisher Charles C. Johnson sued Twitter for banning him from the platform in 2015. The cases are the latest signs of a broad effort by some conservatives to challenge technology companies on the grounds that they favor liberal or moderate voices, reflecting the prevailing political sensibilities in Silicon Valley.
The technology industry’s crackdown against users accused of “hate speech” after August’s “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville has fueled allegations of political bias against companies that are playing a crucial role is disseminating speech worldwide.
The suit by Damore, filed in Santa Clara, Calif., alleges discrimination by Google against men, people of the “Caucasian race,” and people with perceived conservative political views. The suit says that Google employees who expressed views deviating from the majority at Google on politics or on employment practices, including “diversity hiring policies, bias sensitivity, and social justice,” were “singled out, mistreated, and systematically punished and
terminated from Google,” in violation of their legal rights.
Damore’s fellow plaintiff in the class action is another Google employee, a former software engineer named David Gudeman. Google fired Damore after he wrote a 10-page memo titled “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber: How bias clouds our thinking about diversity and inclusion.” Though initially circulated internally in July, it reached a wide audience in August when Motherboard published the memo, saying the “anti-diversity memo” had gone “internally viral” at the Mountain View, Calif.-based technology company. The memo said that “genetic differences” may explain “why we don’t see equal representation of women in tech and leadership.”
The company, which called the memo “offensive” and “harmful,” soon fired Damore, further elevating him in the eyes of his supporters as a victim of what they called an overreaching “political correctness” and ideology rigidity within the tech industry.
Damore, who also filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board, appeared to embrace his rising political visibility, posing in a T-shirt with the word “Goolag” written in a multicolored style that mimicked Google’s familiar logo.
Google spokesman, Ty Sheppard, said in response to the lawsuit: “We look forward to defending against Mr. Damore’s lawsuit in court.” At a news conference, Damore’s lawyer, Harmeet Dhillon, said her client had attended various company meetings and discussions dedicated to diversity. At one such event on campus, Damore had questioned human resources staff about whether political bias was included in the company’s diversity hiring goals, and was told it wasn’t. He was asked to contribute feedback after the event, which led him to write his memo. Before the memo went public, he said he had received feedback from nearly 200 different Google employees, including human resources staff, over the course of several weeks. That gave Damore the impression that he was having an open discussion with colleagues,
and he did not realize he was in trouble until 48 hours before he was let go.
Damore’s legal complaint filled over 200 pages and included screenshots of emails and other correspondence between Damore and Google employees, and anonymous complaints from current Google employees who hold
conservative viewpoints. One screenshot showed an email from a Google engineer who wrote Damore, “You’re a misogynist and a terrible human. I will keep hounding you until one of us is fired.” Another screenshot shows how a Google employee received a so-called peer bonus — in which a colleague can
recommend another colleague for a bonus — for speaking out against the values in Damore’s memo.
The complaint described another Google event, the company’s weekly “all-hands,” in which Google executives “shamed” teams that did not have 50 percent women on staff. “There’s a Lord of the Flies mentality there,” said Dhillon. “Where a person can be singled out, shamed, and fired.”
Dhillon is a prominent Republican in California who was reportedly considered for a Justice Department position in the Trump administration. She recently represented Republican students at the University of California at Berkeley
who sued their school to allow conservative media personality Ann Coulter to speak there on a specific day. (The school had rescheduled Coulter’s event because of security concerns).
bica: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2018/01/08/google-fa ces-a-lawsuit-over-discriminating-against-white-men-and-conservatives/