James Damore, the ex-Google software engineer who was fired in August for writing a 10-page memo arguing that biological differences account for gender imbalances in the tech industry, filed a class action lawsuit against the search engine giant on Monday for discriminating against employees who are “Caucasian,” “male,” or hold “perceived conservative political views by Google.”
Damore, who filed the suit in the Santa Clara Superior Court, is joined by another plaintiff named David Gudeman, a software engineer who worked at Google for three years.
The accusations against Google are manifold.
One group of allegations has to do with supposed ideological discrimination at the company. According to the filing, the plaintiffs claim the company mistreated employees who “expressed views deviating from the majority view” at Google’s on issues such as “‘diversity’ hiring policies, ‘bias sensitivity,’ or ‘social justice.’” It further argues that political diversity is neglected in favor of race and gender diversity at the company.
As for the employment policies themselves, the filing claims that Google has implemented “illegal hiring quotas” in its pursuit of hiring more women and “favored minority” candidates, and that the “numerical presence of women” was celebrated “solely due to their gender.”
Damore and Gudeman further cite personal slights, alleging they were “ostracized, belittled, and punished” both for their political leanings and for “the added sin of their birth circumstances of being Caucasians and/or males.” Indeed, the filing paints Damore as a “diligent and loyal” employee who was victim to harassment and undue termination for authoring the memo, entitled “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber.”
The suit outlines a similar narrative in the case of Gudeman, a conservative Caucasian male. According to the filing, Gudeman responded to a document about the silencing of minorities, which was published on an internal Google website in 2015. He reportedly wrote, in part, that men “need to understand that [Caucasian males] are the victims of a racist and sexist political movement and it is not their fault.” He further likened the document to one that “slave owners would have written for their slaves to help them understand how to interact with their masters.” The filing states that he received a verbal warning for these comments.
Then, shortly after the 2016 election, Gudeman expressed skepticism toward a Muslim colleague who wrote on an employee forum that he was “someone already targeted by the FBI (including at work) for being a Muslim.” Gudeman then allegedly investigated his colleague’s claim and suggested that, in the filing’s words, “something interesting” about a recent trip to Pakistan could explain why he was being targeted. The filing states that Google then fired Gudeman for accusing his colleague of terrorism based on religion.
Damore held an hour-long press conference on Monday afternoon with Harmeet Dhillon, a civil rights attorney and former vice chairwoman of the California Republican Party, whom he hired in August. Dhillon told reporters, “There’s kind of a Lord of the Flies mentality [at Google] where a person can be singled out and then group shamed, bullied, and fired. And that’s what happened to James.”