Class-action lawsuit led by fired engineer includes 100 pages of internal documents and claims conservatives are ostracized, belittled, and punished
Google is facing renewed controversy over its alleged intolerance toward conservatives at the company, after a class action lawsuit filed by former engineer James Damore disclosed virtually 100 pages of screen shoots of internal communications in which employees discuss sensitive political issues.
The evidence appended to the lawsuit, which was filed on Monday, includes a message from Rachel Whetstone, who worked as a senior Google executive after a career in the UK Conservative party, bemoaning” prejudiced and antagonistic” political discourse at the company.
Damore, who was fired in 2017 after writing a controversial memo about gender and technology, alleges in the lawsuit that white, male conservative employees at Google are” ostracized, belittled, and penalized “.
The lawsuit claims that numerous Google directors preserved “blacklists” of conservative employees with whom they refused to work; that Google has a listing of conservatives who are banned from visiting the campus; and that Google’s firings of Damore and the other named plaintiff, David Gudeman, were discriminatory.
” We look forward to defending against Mr Damore’s lawsuit in court ,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement.
The company’s workforce, like much of the rest of the tech industry, is overwhelmingly white, Asian, and male. In 2017, the US Department of Labor accused Google of” extreme pay discrimination” against girls, and a group of women have filed a class-action suit against the company alleging systemic wage discrimination.
But the Damore lawsuit purports to expose a cultural bias toward promoting diversity and” social justice” that, the suit claims, has created a” protected, distorted bubble of groupthink “. Efforts to increase the representation of women and underrepresented racial minorities, which companies like Google have undertaken in response to external criticism, are cast in the suit as illegal discrimination against the majority.
Screenshots of internal communications uncover numerous employees appearing to support the idea of being intolerant toward certain points of view, such as one post arguing that Google should respond to Damore’s memo by” disciplining or terminating those who have expressed support “. In another post, a director stated his intention to “silence” certain” violently offensive” views, writing:” There are certain’ alternative views, including different political positions’ which I do not want people to feel safe to share here … You can believe that women or minorities are unqualified all you like … but if you say it out loud, then you deserve what’s coming to you “.
Internal posts discussing the debate around diversity at Google, such as a meme of a penguin with the text” If you want to increase diversity at Google fire all the bigoted white men”, are filed as an appendix to the lawsuit under the heading” Anti-Caucasian postings “.
One manager is quoted as posting:” I maintain a written blacklist of people whom I will never permit on or near my squad, based on how they view and treat their coworkers. That blacklist got a little longer today .” Another screenshot reveals a manager proposing the creation of a listing of” people who build diversity difficult”, and weighing the possibility that individuals could have” something resembling a trial” before being included.