Google’s fired engineer: James Damore’s claim against search giant revealed

There has been much speculation as to what James Damore — fired from Google in August over his memo citing biology as a possible reason for the gender gap in tech — might claim his former employer did wrong in giving him the boot.

The software engineer’s memo to colleagues and his subsequent dismissal from the company caused an uproar across the political spectrum and around the world, and made Google the target of accusations that it censored conservative views.

California law allows employers to fire workers for virtually any reason — and the Constitutional protection of free speech doesn’t apply to private company workplaces.  Until now it was unclear how Damore might fight back against Google over his termination.

Get tech news in your inbox weekday mornings. Sign up for the free Good Morning Silicon Valley newsletter.

Now, this news organization has obtained the U.S. National Labor Relations Board charge sheet that reveals the basis for Damore’s battle. His argument hinges on the contents of his memo, which went far beyond discussing a possible biological reason for the gender gap. The document contained detailed criticism of Google’s diversity initiatives and their effects on employees, and it said that the company’s biases led to alienation among employees holding conservative views.

His Labor Board charge rests on Section 8(a) subsection (1) of the National Labor Relations Act, which gives employees the right to engage in activities for the purpose of “mutual aid or protection.”

Google discriminated against Damore by firing him “in retaliation” for activities protected by law, and also possibly to discourage such activities within the company, the charge sheet said.

It appears clear that the protected activities Damore refers to are his communications, in the memo, with co-workers, about issues in the workplace.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai has defended Damore’s firing, saying the former engineer had advanced “harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace.”

The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Damore’s claim in the Labor Board charge.

Google has said, in relation to issues around Damore’s firing, that it has “strong policies against retaliation, harassment and discrimination in the workplace,” and that it also strongly supports employees’ rights to express themselves.

“An important part of our culture is lively debate. But like any workplace that doesn’t mean that anything goes,” the company has said in an earlier statement.


Photo: Google CEO Sundar Pichai in 2015 (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez, File)


Tags: , , , , , , , ,


Share this Post

  • Patrick NJ

    Nothing in this story is news. Do you have information that the National Labor Relations Board issued a complaint based on Damore’s charge, or are you just repeating what we knew months ago?

  • Jack Smith

    Someone that honestly believes ALL women are born neurotic as it is a biological condition. This also with other “biological” aspects makes women inferior for STEM is a cancer that MUST be removed.

    What really bugs me is so few actually read the memo. Please, please, please actually read the memo. Everyone should read this memo. It is very important in understanding this situation.

    Google had ZERO choice but to fire Damore. If he has these hateful views towards women then he MUST keep them in his head. Google is a private corporation and nobody can have such a hateful person in their ranks. Could you imagine if he was in your family? Or your kid?

    • Lafayette Escadrill

      We must think just like you, eh comrade????

    • js290

      that’s a good strawman…

      Memo w/references:

      Personality differences

      Women, on average, have more:

      ● Neuroticism (higher anxiety, lower stress tolerance).

      ○This may contribute to the higher levels of anxiety women report on Googlegeist and to the lower number of women in high stress jobs

    • Ashley Janit

      It’s incredibly upsetting that you read it twice but couldnt comprehend anything.

      ON AVERAGE people in group X are something different over people in group Y.

      Replace that with any 2 groups and any random metric and it holds true. Yes women and men are different and prefer different things. Not a big deal. Stop being outraged from your own confusion and lack of reading comprehension and learn how to reason, at least for the sake of your own daughters.

    • You have serious reading comprehension issues if you read the memo twice and believe a single thing you just wrote.

    • Kraus

      Your rant indicates:

      a. a lack of reading comprehension skills.
      b. a complete misunderstanding of Mr. Damore’s argument.
      c. a willful misunderstanding of the scientific research that underpins it.
      d. a slanderous mischaracterization of Mr. Damore’s character.
      e. a disturbing absence of critical reasoning skills due to adherence to politically-correct ideology.
      e. All of the above

  • Xenia Volansky

    Did you people even read the memo? Did anyone actually read the memo? He is planning to slam on media, and now has legal basis to sue your “news” website too. He said none of those things you quoted.

    His sentences were extremely precise and well guarded specifically against this kind of reaction, which now shows that most people are extremely superficial and envious of other people’s progress. His views are not conservative, they were just based on analysis of the current state of things with women in tech, and wanted to _correct_ the gender gap by addressing the issues. Before you mindlessly comment or write a “story” again, go ahead and do _your_ job of checking the facts you are writing about.

    Read the memo. Open your mind, don’t be a mindless bot, and read what he had to say. Don’t play with people’s lives.

    • Jack Smith

      What Damore said CLEARLY in the memo is that every female is born neurotic. There are NO exceptions. Do you honestly believe that? I do hope everyone reads the memo and realizes why Damore MUST be fired and hopefully nobody will hire him.

      This is not discussing healthcare of tax reform. This is hate pure and simple. It is NEVER acceptable. It is why Damore is back in his hole and has ZERO chance to win in court.

      • Warum

        Here’s the section you mentioned:

        “Women, on average, have more :

        – Neuroticism (higher anxiety, lower stress tolerance).”

        So, here’s my question, Jack. Are you incapable of reading or do you not understand what “average” means? Did you actually read it yourself? Or are you so partisan that you willfully lie about things to advance your agenda? Based on your seemingly inability to parse things correctly, I would conjecture you don’t even know what the term “neuroticism” means in this context (big 5 personality traits). I certainly hope I’m wrong.

        Moreover, the memo is about how hormones early in fetal gestation changes people’s preferences, not about ability differences, so your non-sequitur about your daughter makes no sense. Lastly, your attempt to imply (“… brown,black,jewish,etc”) that any sort of research about biological determinism equates to the dangerous historical philosophies promulgated by eugenics in the past ( like Sanger, phrenologists, etc) is ludicrous. I would be happy to give a more in-depth discussion as to why, if you are curious.

        Please, start thinking critically and not emotionally.

        • js290

          Interestingly, my dad is far more neurotic than my mom…

        • Robert Bryk

          Excellent retort, I am taking a class now called “theories of personality” and this falls right in line with modern logic and correct definition of terms.

      • Ashley Janit

        You are supremely confused and not clear at all.

        He said that females ON AVERAGE show those tendencies. Do you know what “on average” means? CLEARLY not.

        You can take 2 groups of any kind and they will show differences in something. Is it really such a big deal that males and females prefer different things? We are different down to the DNA, it’s not some grand conspiracy that preferences are different too.

        Otherwise where is the outrage over the ratio in the fashion or construction industries then?

      • You never read the memo or you would know what you just wrote was a fictitious lie.

      • Kraus

        “Neurotic” is not the same a “neuroticism”.

        Based upon your comments, you appear to be someone who is propelled by ideology — as one that lets his emotions cloud his ability to think critically and in a creative open-minded problem solving fashion.

        You appear to be a very hateful person with some serious “anger issues” that you are projecting onto Mr. Damore.

  • js290

    Meanwhile… An Extremely Convincing WhatsApp Fake Was Downloaded More Than 1 Million Times From Google Play