Fired Google engineer who wrote controversial memo sues tech firm

Above Google China office circa

The engineer who was sacked by Google after he criticized its diversity policies - he issued a memo saying women land fewer tech jobs than men because of biological differences - sued his ex-employer, alleging that he and others at the internet giant were harassed over their conservative political views.

The 161-page complaint filed Monday on behalf of James Damore and another former Google engineer depicts Google as an elitist company that shuns employees who dare to deviate from a liberal agenda embraced by its management and most of its workforce. They want to represent other Google employees and former employees who they claimed were "ostracised, belittled and punished" by the company for their political views and for being white males.

Google fired Damore in August after he distributed a 3,000-word missive arguing that the "preferences and abilities of men and women differ in part due to biological causes and that these differences may explain why we don't see equal representation of women in tech and leadership".

"Google's open hostility for conservative thought is paired with invidious discrimination on the basis of race and gender, barred by law", the lawsuit alleges.

Damore in his memo wrote, "I hope it's clear that I'm not saying that diversity is bad, that Google or society is 100 percent fair, that we shouldn't try to correct for existing biases, or that minorities have the same experience of those in the majority".

Screenshots of the messages and e-mails from the employees provide ample evidence that the suit isn't making up any of the claims nor are they unsubstantiated.

Damore told Fox Business that Google still engages in "harassment and career sabotage of anyone that expresses a conservative viewpoint, and there's constant shaming and attacks against white men within Silicon Valley".

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The lawsuit also alleges that Google employees were awarded bonuses for arguing against Damore's views.

The lawsuit is seeking compensation against Google and an injunction against the company for its alleged discrimination.

Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Not only was Damore fired after his memo went public, but as he puts it, others who spoke out against him were rewarded.

CEO Sundar Pichai said in an email to staff after Damore was sacked: "That to suggest a group of our colleagues have traits that make them less biologically suited to that work is offensive and not OK".

The company, which called the memo "offensive" and "harmful", fired Damore, further elevating him as a victim of what his supporters called an overreaching "political correctness" and ideology rigidity within the tech industry. Last month, a fourth complainant joined their suit.

All this is happening while Google is fighting back claims that women at the company have been systematically underpaid.

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