We have reported a lot on Silicon Valley’s diversity problem, and also how it may be getting worse rather than better.
Former Google engineer James Damore also believes that Silicon Valley, and Alphabet in particular, has a diversity problem. To correct it, he is suing the company for discriminating against white male conservatives, TechCrunch reports.
You may recall that Damore was fired in August for posting a memo on the tech company’s internal message board that claimed female engineers were inferior to their male counterparts. The memo also suggested that Google ought not to offer programs to boost underrepresented minorities.
In his suit, Damore claims that Google is unfair to employees with political views that are different from those of its executives. Another former engineer, David Gudeman, has joined Damore in the suit as well.
The class action lawsuit, filed by the Dhillon Law Group, claims that Google discriminates against employees who have “perceived conservative political views,” as well as employees of the “male gender” and those of the “Caucasian race.”
The lawsuit also claims that employees who “expressed views deviating from the majority view at Google on political subjects raised in the workplace and relevant to Google’s employment policies and its business, such as ‘diversity’ hiring policies, ‘bias sensitivity’ or ‘social justice’” were singled-out and punished.
Damore’s suit goes on to paint a picture of a hostile work environment, where the “presence of Caucasians and males was mocked with ‘boos’ during company wide weekly meetings.”
He also says that women were hired “solely due to their gender,” in part because managers were pressured to make their teams more diverse.
He accused Google of enforcing “illegal hiring quotas to fill its desired percentages of women and favored minority candidates,” and said the company “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.”
At a press conference announcing the suit, Damore’s lawyer, Harmeet Dhillon, elaborated on this alleged practice, saying that at Google’s Friday meetings “managers were called out and shamed and mocked if they didn’t have 50/50 gender parity in [their respective] units.”
Dhillon acknowledged that having all teams being half women was a “fair goal,” but said that Google was going about it all wrong. “How do you get there?” she asked. “Job fairs. Making yourself more attractive. Not by saying, ‘White guy, you can’t have that job because that’s reserved for a woman or minority.’”
Dhillon said that she believes there will be “future lawsuits” addressing what her client feels is a systemic problem at the tech giant.
There is also reason to believe that some other current or former employees will soon be added to the suit. Dhillon said she interviewed “dozens” of people connected to Google before bringing the legal action, and the suit itself claims that not only Damore and Gudeman, but “other class members” 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.”
The plaintiffs are currently seeking monetary, non-monetary and punitive resolution.