Google fires employee James Damore for 'gender stereotypes' memo

James Damore says he was sacked for claiming that gender imbalance in the tech industry was 'in part due to biological causes'.

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Google fires employee James Damore for 'gender stereotypes' memo

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Google has sacked the male engineer whose internal memo caused a furore for claiming that gender inequality in the tech industry may be partly down to biological differences between men and women.

In his paper entitled “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber”, James Damore accused the internet giant of pushing a “politically correct monoculture”, shaming dissenters into silence and stifling debate on diversity.

The ex-employee has said he is looking into possible legal remedies, although experts have cast doubt on whether he has grounds for a successful legal action.

Earlier, Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai has cut short his holiday in Europe to return to the US to deal with the affair. He reportedly told employees in a note on Monday that parts of Damore’s memo “violate our Code of Conduct and cross the line by advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace”. Google’s vice-president of diversity, Danielle Brown, sent a memo saying the engineer’s essay “advanced incorrect assumptions about gender”.

Damore claimed in his 3,000-word document that circulated inside the company last week that “Google’s left bias has created a politically correct monoculture” which prevented honest discussion of equality.

“The distribution of preferences and abilities of men and women differ in part due to biological causes and… these differences may explain why we don’t see equal representation of women in tech and leadership,” Damore wrote.

The engineer began his article saying he valued “diversity and inclusion” and did not “endorse using stereotypes”, and concluded in the same vein: “I strongly believe in gender and racial diversity”, he said, accusing Google of creating discriminatory practices in trying “to achieve a more equal gender and race representation”.

Damore has received support in conservative media outlets such as Breitbart News, with commentators claiming the dismissal is an example of corporate intolerance for alternative views that do not follow a left-wing, politically correct bias.

Google is in the midst of a US Department of Labor investigation into whether it pays women less than men. Leading tech companies including Google, Facebook and Uber, have said they are trying to improve hiring and working conditions for women.