The former Google employee who was fired after posting a missive criticizing the company’s diversity efforts calls his dismissal illegal and says he is “exploring all possible legal remedies.”
James Damore said via email Monday night that he was told he was fired for “‘perpetuating gender stereotypes.'”
Damore, a senior software engineer who had worked at Google since December 2013, posted the 10-page note on an internal Google discussion board late last week, criticizing what he called Google’s liberal leanings and its training around “unconscious bias,” particularly with regard to women. The document cited purported principles of evolutionary psychology to argue that women are unsuited to be good engineers because they are more interested in people than ideas.
On his LinkedIn profile, Damore lists a “PhD, Systems Biology” from Harvard in 2013. However, a representative from Harvard tells WIRED that Damore did not complete a PhD. He completed a master’s degree in systems biology in 2013.
The “Google memo,” as it became known on Twitter, went viral over the weekend, generating fierce criticism from other Google employees and many others outside the company.
Google executives initially appeared to be caught off guard by the document and the uproar. Danielle Brown, the company’s new vice president of diversity and inclusion, posted a response late Saturday that both criticized some of the statements in Damore’s missive and said Google sought an “open, inclusive environment” that accommodates multiple political views.
On Monday, however, Google CEO Sundar Pichai sent a company-wide email saying that Damore had violated the company’s Code of Conduct by “advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace.” News of Pichai’s email surfaced just moments before word that Damore had been fired.
In the email exchange with WIRED Monday night, Damore said he wrote the document “to express my concerns about the terms and conditions of my working environment, and to bring up potentially illegal behavior.” He said he had filed a complaint, formally known as a charge, with the National Labor Relations Board. He also claimed that California law prohibits firing or coercing workers for their political views. Damore did not respond to a request for an interview.