August 8, 2017

"Google Fires Author of Divisive Memo on Gender Differences."

Bloomberg reports.
Earlier on Monday, Google CEO Sundar Pichai sent a note to employees that said portions of the memo “violate our Code of Conduct and cross the line by advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace.”...  A Google representative, asked about the dismissal, referred to Pichai’s memo.

[James] Damore’s 10-page memorandum accused Google of silencing conservative political opinions and argued that biological differences play a role in the shortage of women in tech and leadership positions. It circulated widely inside the company and became public over the weekend, causing a furor that amplified the pressure on Google executives to take a more definitive stand.
I'm still trying to understand how Damore distributed the memo. Did he shoot it out to a lot of people in an effort to suddenly force them to face up to the issue in his terms right now or did he muse on paper to develop his own thoughts and only share it with a few people who'd shown an interest in working through ideas they'd already talked about with him?

The phrase "It circulated widely inside the company" doesn't explain what he did. I can't figure out what to think about what happened to him without knowing more.

Firing him seems cruel and chilling toward free speech, but the company is entitled and even required to demand that employees not participate in creating unequal working conditions for men and women.

The memo and surrounding debate comes as Google fends off a lawsuit from the U.S. Department of Labor alleging the company systemically discriminates against women. Google has denied the charges, arguing that it doesn’t have a gender gap in pay, but has declined to share full salary information with the government. 
It's possible that what Damore talked about in his memo actually reflects what many people at Google privately think and are trying to hide and that he was treated harshly to manufacture evidence against a proposition that matters in the lawsuit.

I'd like to know a lot more, so I'll just throw out the hypothesis that Damore is being scapegoated not because Google is dominated by social-justice warriors but because there really is deeply entrenched prejudice against women in the tech field and Google is desperate to hide it.

ADDED: From the NYT article on the firing:
Before being fired, Mr. Damore said, he had submitted a complaint to the National Labor Relations Board claiming that Google’s upper management was “misrepresenting and shaming me in order to silence my complaints.” He added that it was “illegal to retaliate” against an N.L.R.B. charge.

221 comments:

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Jason said...

Don't know about Unruh... it seems like it's not an employment law thing but an equal access to public accommodations thing.

I was thinking about California Labor Code Sections 1101 and 1102, along with section 98.6.

Discussion here: http://www.fentonkeller.com/resources/workplace_law/2008/july_2008_political_activity_in_workplace.htm

Jason said...

Is that Unruh?

Glen Filthie said...

This guy just turned the table on the lawfare finks. Even A-house is flummoxed and admits to having the need for more info. I think this guy just led the SJW's into a legal minefield and will blow it behind him and cash in.

This guy is a brainiac and master of game theory. The SJW's came crawling out of the woodwork to signal their virtue, with many of them publicly stating they will sabotage this man in the workplace by any means possible, black list him with other companies, and do everything in their power to harass him and make his life miserable because of his opinions.

$$$$KA-CHING!!!$$$$

Companies more concerned with competing than with social justice will line up to hire him too. This guy has effectively flipped the bird at the social justice wanks, beaten them up and taken their lunch money - and will shortly be employed with the cool kids while Google is left trying to help the wankers get their panties unknotted.

The man deserves every penny he'll get too.

Glen Filthie said...

Also - I want Lazlo Spatula arrested, detained and dismissed!!!! Toilet jokes on the internet?!?!? For shame!!!!!

Jason said...

I wonder just how much Google will pay this guy to avoid discovery?

The world wonders

Jack Wayne said...

We are a majority dishonest nation. It's not just political correctness. When you attend a sports event, the really questionable replays are not shown: I guess the leagues are affraid the fans will stone the referees or players. Our military, our spies, our government all lie constantly. Economists lie, scientists lie, cops let Crimes go unpunished, traffic laws are routinely ignored. People see crimes and don't report them. As the tectonic plates of our society bind up, all we can do is await the release of all that tension. It will be epic.

Michael K said...

He is pretty much in control now.

He reminds me of the couple who bought the street in San Francisco.

They didn’t learn that their street and sidewalks had been sold until they were contacted May 30 by a title search company working on behalf of Cheng and Lam, said Emblidge. The title search outfit wanted to know if the residents had any interest in buying back the property from the couple, the lawyer said.

“I was shocked to learn this could happen, and am deeply troubled that anyone would choose to take advantage of the situation and buy our street and sidewalks,” said one homeowner, who asked not to be named because of pending litigation.


The guy is from Hong Kong and works in Silicon Valley.

I would set up a toll gate.

rhhardin said...

This guy is a brainiac and master of game theory.

Game theory is math, not being good at strategy, unless it's a mathematized game.

Erika Juhasz Nagy said...

He filed a complaint with the NRLB before posting the article. Google is in trouble.

Bob Loblaw said...

Google is starting the classic big company decline. They have a big river of money coming in, and they act as if that river will never dry up no matter what they do. So they're starting to do all sorts of stupid things because they figure the money thing is set.

This is exactly what happened at Yahoo, right down to the way they're driving out the engineers and replacing them with seat-warmers.

buwaya said...

"and will shortly be employed with the cool kids"

I think he is likely to collect, probably a settlement long before anything like a trial.
Probably enough to be financially independent, and then some.
However I don't think he will be employable in any large company or university. He will be blackballed, for several years anyway. He will however be free to be a private scholar.

"He filed a complaint with the NRLB before posting the article."

If I understand correctly, he filed after posting the article, and seeing the semi-official reaction, but before being identified and before being fired. I don't think he had grounds for a complaint before posting his paper. He may well have had an NLRB complaint lined up waiting for the reaction though.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Have you read the memo yet, Professor? One of the guy's points is that the executive level positions require a huge time commitment and women are less likely to be willing to commit that much time to work, so if companies want to have more women in those positions the type of work/positions need to change (to be less onerous time-wise).

That's...pretty close to what you argue about how "we" should change working life to make it more fair for women, isn't it?

Jason said...

The sheer intellectual dishonesty I'm seeing on the left in characterizing what this guy actually wrote is shocking to behold.

Jupiter said...

"...but the company is entitled and even required to demand that employees not participate in creating unequal working conditions for men and women."

No, actually it's perfectly legal as long as it's intended to redress past discrimination. Where it gets a bit tricky is when, for obvious reasons, they want to take steps to redress past discrimination without admitting to having discriminated in the past. I'm not sure whether you can discriminate to redress a disparate impact without admitting that the disparate impact is a result of discrimination. Given how much employment lawyers get paid, I'm guessing the answer is "yes". When you're getting paid that kind of money, you always answer "yes". Let 'em find out different in court.

Jonathan Graehl said...

http://infoproc.blogspot.com/2017/08/in-matter-of-james-damore-ex-googler.html

The Toothless Revolutionary said...

Do you have a license to practice? You could always seek to serve as his counsel.

theribbonguy said...

This is how we get more Trump.

Today at work our door repair guy showed up at my building. We worked together over a couple weekends awhile back became friends over the hours spent together. Anyhoo, you will never meet anyone less politically involved, he believing that their isn't a dimes difference between the uniparty factions.
This latest example of someone being professionally lynched for having the audacity to express doupleplusungoodbadthought was the final brick. He now is firmly in Trumps camp because of his war on this bullshit political correctness.

CR said...

I heard this story this morning on a news program. In the same segment announcing the Google firing, the newsreader (a woman) touted a scientific study proving that women are cognitively superior to men.

Some Guy said...

>Expressing ideas that hurt people's feelings is an act of violence.

No, violence is physical. Claiming that speech is violence is idiotic, and it's an attempt on your part to intimidate others. So, fuck you.

Todd said...

HoodlumDoodlum said...

What matters is that he hurt womens' feelings. That is intolerable.

8/8/17, 10:25 AM


Correction, he hurt the "wrong" womens' feelings. Had it been a bunch of bible-thumping women or conservative women or NRA member women, the hurt feelings would either not matter at all or be justified BUT because the feelz of liberal/leftist women were hurt, fetch the stake, firewood, rope, gas, and matches...

Todd said...

Roy Jacobsen said...

Damore is the un-named boy in A Wrinkle in Time who could not (or would not) bounce his ball in the correct rhythm.

8/8/17, 11:18 AM


So there you are! The other person that read that book! I knew there had to be at least two of us but could not locate another...

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