Google Fires Employee Who Wrote That Anti-Diversity Manifesto
On Monday evening, Bloomberg reported that Google fired the employee behind the anti-diversity manifesto that's been causing such a stir. The employee, James Damore, confirmed his own firing to the news outlet. Google meanwhile has not commented publicly on the corrective action, but the tech giant's chief executive officer, Sundar Pichai, did speak out against it earlier Monday.
Both the employee's comments to Bloomberg via email and Pichai's statement circulated to employees point to his views on traditional gender norms being a key factor in the dismissal. Pichai explained that certain arguments in the manifesto "violate our Code of Conduct and cross the line by advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace." The CEO's response was sent to employees as a memo. He fully explained what was wrong with Damore's words:
Our job is to build great products for users that make a difference in their lives. To suggest a group of our colleagues have traits that make them less biologically suited to that work is offensive and not OK. It is contrary to our basic values and our Code of Conduct, which expects "each Googler to do their utmost to create a workplace culture that is free of harassment, intimidation, bias and unlawful discrimination."
Attention was first brought to the 10-page manifesto when some employees started tweeting about its contents. Vice's Motherboard was the first to report its existence. The main offensive argument was that the lack of women in tech and software engineering is due to biological differences. It also criticized the existence of diversity programs for women and people of color at the company. He also suggested that Google should focus on "ideological diversity" instead.
It may have taken a few days for the employee to be fired, but Google had already responded over the weekend. The company's head of diversity, Danielle Brown, was one of the first to respond internally to employees:
Diversity and inclusion are a fundamental part of our values and the culture we continue to cultivate. We are unequivocal in our belief that diversity and inclusion are critical to our success as a company, and we'll continue to stand for that and be committed to it for the long haul.
Not everyone, though, at the company was against the contents. According to Motherboard, some employees have expressed dismay at the amount of support it is seeing. One employee told the news outlet:
From what I've seen it's been a mix of women saying, "This is terrible and it's been distracting me from my work and it shouldn't be allowed;" Men and women saying "this is horrible but we need to let him have a voice;" and men saying "This is so brave, I agree."
Google has made growing diversity a focus in recent years, but even still 80 percent of the tech staff and 75 percent of the leadership is men according to the 2017 diversity report. The company overall is 56 percent white and 35 percent Asian. It's also being sued by the Department of Labor for "systemic compensation disparities" based on gender.
Thus firing the author of the manifesto is really just the beginning.