Google Fires Employee Who Wrote Controversial Diversity Memo

Google CEO Sundar Pichai
Google CEO Sundar Pichai

Alphabet Inc.’s Google has fired the employee that authored a controversial memo that suggested men were better suited for tech jobs than women.

The 10-page memo, titled “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber” went viral within Google last week and was first reported externally by the tech blog Motherboard. In it, the author says that women are underrepresented in tech because of inherent psychological differences between men and women.

Alphabet shares were little changed in after-hours trading at $945.10 after closing at $945.75 each in New York Monday.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai Monday evening wrote to staff saying the memo violated the company’s code of conduct and “cross the line by advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace.”

“To suggest a group of our colleagues have traits that make them less biologically suited to that work is offensive and not OK,” Pichai wrote. “It is contrary to our basic values and our Code of Conduct, which expects ‘each Googler to do their utmost to create a workplace culture that is free of harassment, intimidation, bias and unlawful discrimination.'”

Google has not publicly named the fired employee, but Bloomberg reported that software engineer James Damore confirmed in an email that he had been let go for “perpetuating gender stereotypes” and was exploring legal action against the company. Internal discussions boards seen by Bloomberg suggest that multiple employees supported the dismissal of the employee and said they would choose not to work with him.

The memo also criticized the company’s diversity programs and questioned whether differing views could be said freely within Google.

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SOURCE: Lisa Botter and Anders Keitz 
The Street