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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Friday, December 15, 2017

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Google engineer who wrote memo on gender differences fired

Google diversity policies

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CALIFORNIA, U.S. - A Google engineer who created a firestorm across Silicon Valley after he wrote an internal memo blasting the web company’s diversity policies, has now been fired.

Google has said that it fired the employee who wrote the memo blasting "politically correct monoculture" became he violated the company’s Code of Conduct.

The Google engineer, identified as James Damore confirmed his dismissal to the media in an email and said that he had been fired for “perpetuating gender stereotypes.” 

He added that he is “currently exploring all possible legal remedies.”

In his 10-page, 3,500-word memorandum, Damore 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. 

The memo was circulated widely inside the company and became public over the weekend.

It not only causing a furore in Silicon Valley but also amplified pressure on Google executives to take a more definitive stand.

The controversy gripped Alphabet’s Google through the weekend and became the latest in a long string of incidents concerning gender bias and diversity in the company. 

The incident also comes at a time when Google is fending off a lawsuit from the U.S. Department of Labor alleging the company systemically discriminates against women. 

While Google has denied the charges and has argued that it doesn’t have a gender gap in pay - it has declined to share full salary information with the government.

Meanwhile, without specifying if the company was taking action against the employee, Google CEO Sundar Pichai sent a note to employees on Monday that said portions of the memo “violate our Code of Conduct and cross the line by advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace.” 

Pichai said, “We strongly support the right of Googlers to express themselves, and much of what was in that memo is fair to debate, regardless of whether a vast majority of Googlers disagree with it.”

He added that saying “a group of our colleagues have traits that make them less biologically suited to that work is offensive and not OK,” and was against the company’s code of conduct.

Further, Danielle Brown, Google’s new vice president for diversity, integrity and governance, too sent a statement to staff condemning Damore’s views and reaffirmed the company’s stance on diversity. 

Brown said in the statement, “We are unequivocal in our belief that diversity and inclusion are critical to our success as a company. We’ll continue to stand for that and be committed to it for the long haul.”

For years now, the engineering industry has been gripped with incidents of discrimination, and lot of women are speaking up about being sidelined in the male-dominated tech industry.

Google’s most recent demographic report revealed that 69 percent of its workforce and 80 percent of its technical staff are male.

 

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