Tuesday, 24 October, 2017

Google CEO: Anti-diversity memo was 'offensive and not OK'

Google worker's call for end to positive discrimination in favour of women and ethnic minority staff sparks backlash Google fires engineer who authored anti-diversity memo
Edmund Wade | 10 August, 2017, 00:16

In his note to staff sent on Monday afternoon, Mr Pichai spoke at length about protecting free speech in Google's ranks, and that "much of what was in that memo is fair to debate, regardless of whether a vast majority of Googlers disagree with it".

The memo, which some inside Google jokingly called a "manifesto", was widely shared inside and outside the company.

James Finberg, the civil rights attorney working on the possible legal action, has said the women he has spoken to have made clear of the pay disparities faced within the company.

Earlier, Google CEO Sundar Pichai had described the Damore's screed as violating Google's code of conduct and advancing harmful stereotypes about gender in the workplace.

The National Labor Relations Act protects employees who are trying to organize unions, but there is a clause stating employees are allowed to engage in activities for "other mutual aid or protection". After a firestorm of criticism, Google fired the engineer. He is just twiddling his thumbs in the Ecuadorian embassy and worrying that no one is paying him any attention.

Google engineering vice president Aristotle Balogh criticized the employee and said that typecasting and detrimental conjectures should not be able to influence the work culture of any company.

The controversy has come at a sensitive time for Google, which is under investigation by the USA government after accusations of gender pay inequality, and has been forced to hand over pay records. He may have or find evidence that Google tried to chill his efforts to engage with other workers to change Google's diversity practices and policies.

At the moment, 69 percent of Google's employees are men, 75 percent of its leaders are men, and 56 percent of all its employees are white, according to a report released by the company in June. It goes on to claim that that women are interested in "people", while men are interested in "things". "That includes not firing them for politely expressing ideas but rather arguing back", Assange tweeted.

Damore went a step further, however, by arguing that women are not biologically fit for tech roles. What seems to have irked the search giant the most is the alleged discriminatory practices followed by the company where men employees are given more favors compared to their female counterparts. At Apple, around 30 percent of total employees are women.

Such thinking "is definitely entrenched in a company the size of Google, but it also happens in small companies, so I wouldn't say anybody is off the hook", said Nicole Sanchez, CEO and founder of Vaya Consulting, which specializes in diversity. Perhaps Damore, and those supporting him, should've done more research.

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