A Google engineer fired for writing a memo questioning Google's commitment to diversity has filed a lawsuit alleging his ouster was driven by a corporate culture that discriminates against white men and people with conservative views, including supporters of President Donald Trump.
The lawsuit alleges workplace discrimination, and was filed along with another white male former Google engineer David Gudeman.
The complaint, filed in a court in Santa Clara, California, says Damore and his colleagues "were ostracized, belittled, and punished for their heterodox political views, and for the added sin of their birth circumstances of being Caucasians and/or males". In that missive, Damore criticized Google for pushing mentoring and diversity programs and for "alienating conservatives". He also blamed biological differences for the relative lack of women in tech. Many at Google and elsewhere, viewed the software engineer's comments as insulting to women and a reflection of a broader and growing intolerance towards minorities in the current politically charged climate. Just a few days after Damore posted the memo on an internal message board, it was leaked to a technology blog. Scientists argued about his conclusions - some agreed with Damore, others vigorously disagreed - but rather than engage with Damore, Google proved one of his points (that Google is hostile to dissenting views) by summarily terminating his employment.
It alleged that Google uses illegal hiring quotas to achieve a particular percentage of women and minority ethnic employees.
The lawsuit also accused Google of maintaining a secret blacklist of conservative media personalities who are not allowed inside the company's offices.
Google said in a statement: "We look forward to defending against Mr Damore's lawsuit in court".
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"They had this vague gestalt response saying he 'perpetuated gender stereotypes, ' " Dhillon, who is a Republican Party official, said.
After he was sacked, he became a cult hero of the political right.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai described Damore's screed as violating the company's code of conduct and said that any suggestions about women somehow being biologically less suited for some types of work, was offensive.
After his memo was widely circulated, Damore said he was verbally bullied and threatened by co-workers.
"Google employees and managers strongly preferred to hear the same orthodox opinions regurgitated repeatedly, producing an ideological echo chamber, a protected, distorted bubble of groupthink", the lawsuit continued.
Google said it doesn't tolerate any form of harassment. "I really believe I could improve things there", he said.