Google has sacked the male engineer at the centre of a furore over an internal memo he wrote claiming there are biological causes behind gender inequality in the tech industry.
James Damore confirmed his dismissal, saying he had been fired for “perpetuating gender stereotypes”. The ex-employee has said he is looking into possible legal remedies, accusing senior Google management of trying to shame him into silence.
Earlier, Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai 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”.
The engineer 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.
He 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 and 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.