Fired Google Employee James Damore Podcast Interview: In His Own Words

Ann Santiago
August 11, 2017

More than half of Google's employees believe former search engineer James Damore shouldn't have been fired, according to polls.

The Google engineer fired for a "sexist" memo against women in tech has found a new target, his employer. They're held regularly with employees and executives. Others say it is hard to openly discuss diversity issues at the company because of a liberal bias among managers and colleagues at Google, a unit of Alphabet Inc.

Google has called for a company town hall meeting on diversity Thursday.

Earlier in the day, employees began posting questions, reviewed by CNN Tech. "The goal of the case is to not only get Google to change its practices, but to encourage other Silicon Valley companies to change their pay practices as well".

There are "definite mixed feelings" inside the company, one employee said. The loud voice here is a liberal one.

Pichai made the decision to fire Damore even while crediting him with raising important issues.

Pichai has since released a memo of his own addressing the importance of self expression in the workplace while being aware of the company's code of conduct. He added that the memo originally was 10 pages and was leaked with much of that scientific data supporting his gender views edited out.

Without directly addressing the firing, Google CEO Sundar Pachai said a section of the memo suggested "a group of our colleagues have traits that make them less biologically suited to that work" - and that type of thinking is "offensive and not OK". Otherwise, Google's workforce is predominately male and white.

Google may also potentially face a legal challenge from James Damore, the engineer who wrote the memo, and who was sacked on Monday.

"There are some topics that are off limits, including gender and racial diversity", he said.

Michael Willemin, a plaintiff's lawyer with employment firm Wigdor, also said Damore would have a hard time bringing a retaliation claim based on the idea that his memo constituted a complaint about discrimination against men.

Google is now embroiled in controversy over claims of gender discrimination, after an "anti-diversity" letter went viral over the weekend.

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