Published: Tue, January 09, 2018
Markets | By Erika Turner

Former Google engineer's lawsuit 'surprising,' says Toronto lawyer

Former Google engineer's lawsuit 'surprising,' says Toronto lawyer

Damore said in a lawsuit filed in Superior Court in Santa Clara County that he was harassed and threatened by other Googlers and fired for "perpetuating gender stereotypes".

James Damore on Monday filed a class-action complaint after setting off a firestorm in August with a 10-page memo blasting Google's "left bias" for creating a "politically correct monoculture".

Google's vice president of diversity, integrity, and governance, Danielle Brown, said the memo "advanced incorrect assumptions about gender", in a statement shortly after Damore was sacked.

"(Google applies) illegal hiring quotas to fill its desired percentages of women and favored minority candidates, and openly shames managers of business units who fail to meet their quotas-in the process, openly denigrating male and Caucasian employees as less favored than others."

Now he is suing his former employer for workplace discrimination, claiming that Google is biased against white men with conservative views.

Damore, who garnered national attention after releasing a memo that questioned whether Google's hiring practices geared toward bringing more women into its workforce was practicable, was joined in the lawsuit by former Google employee David Gudeman. It is seeking class action status for three groups of people who it claims have been similarly discriminated against: Conservatives, Caucasians, and men. Both men say they 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".

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The lawsuit requested an injunction barring Google from discriminating against individuals with conservative political views, as well as for unspecified compensation.

Damore, who worked at Google for three years, was sacked from Google in August one week after his memo on Google's diversity policies went viral. Google terminated Damore for the memo, saying it was contrary to the company's basic values and code of conduct.

The debate comes as Google is fighting claims by the U.S. Department of Labor that it systemically discriminates against women.

Many companies in the tech world including Facebook, Tesla, Uber and Google have come under fire for discrimination and sexual harassment.

After the controversy swelled, Danielle Brown, Google's then-new vice president for diversity, integrity and governance, sent a statement to staff condemning Damore's views and reaffirmed the company's stance on diversity.

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