The Internet was abuzz last year when a memo leaked from a Google employee. James Damore, an engineer for the search giant, wrote a memo that questioned the company’s diversity policy. He raised some common-sense concerns over the company’s political bias. He offered a counter to their strict, progressive stance. And he opened the memo up to comments so other employees could express their thoughts.
He was promptly fired.
This sparked new concerns over the single most influential company online. If Google was so harsh in their close-minded views towards an employee, how do they view the general public? Damore was fired for simply questioning the progressive company’s stance on one issue. Does this mean that they operate with a bias when dealing with content online?
Now the Internet is astir once again, as it was announced that James Damore is suing the company. At first, you might think this is a simple wrongful termination case. But there’s much more going on beneath the surface. What Damore’s suit might uncover could expose the tech giant’s sordid underbelly. The repercussions could have a long-lasting influence on how we use the Internet.
James Damore, the onetime Google employee who was fired after he wrote a memo criticizing the firm for pushing diversity, has filed a class action lawsuit against the tech giant.
The suit was filed Monday in Santa Clara Superior Court. Damore is joined in the lawsuit by another former Google engineer, David Gudeman.
“Damore, Gudeman, and 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 lawsuit alleged. “This is the essence of discrimination—Google formed opinions about and then treated Plaintiffs not based on their individual merits, but rather on their membership in groups with assumed characteristics.” [Source: Fox News]
Some might say Damore is simply lashing out. Bitter over his termination, he is using the press he got to give the tech giant a black eye. But it looks like more is going on at the Internet juggernaut. This lawsuit might blow the lid off it.
Had Damore filed a wrongful termination suit, Google might have quickly complied. They could have settled for damages outside of court. After all, he was fired over a memo. There is no evidence to suggest Damore was breaking any rules. From all appearances, he was a reliable employee who cared about the company. The memo was supposed to stimulate a conversation about gender and diversity. At best, it could have helped the company become more inclusive. Instead, Damore was treated like a villain and cast out.
The lawsuit lists the laws Google potentially violated, not just in firing Damore, but as routine within its culture. Perhaps most telling is: “Workplace Discrimination on the basis of Gender and/or Race in Violation of FEHA” and “Workplace Harassment in Violation of FEHA.” It seems like Damore’s intention is to raise awareness about how Google is treating its employees.
Damore told Fox Business that Google still engages in “harassment and career sabotage of anyone that expresses a conservative viewpoint, and there’s constant shaming and attacks against white men within Silicon Valley.”
“Google employees and managers strongly preferred to hear the same orthodox opinions regurgitated repeatedly, producing an ideological echo chamber, a protected, distorted bubble of groupthink,” the lawsuit continued. “When Plaintiffs challenged Google’s illegal employment practices, they were openly threatened and subjected to harassment and retaliation from Google.” [Source: Fox News]
This is pretty serious stuff. After all, we trust Google to “vet” our search results for us. Many of us use their email service—thus giving them access to our private conversations. Millions use Android-based phones, giving Google access to our every move. Are we comfortable knowing this company with such massive influence shows such intolerance within its walls?
What if that intolerance has affected search results? Rumors often circulate that Google is selective with certain subjects. If the company really mistreats employees because of their race, gender, or politics, how can we trust them with our personal lives?
Are we sure that what Google shows us is factual? It may not matter if you’re searching for chocolate cake recipes. But when you want honest information about say, DACA, how do you know Google isn’t showing something it wants you to see, rather than unbiased information?
James Damore has an uphill battle with this lawsuit. Google will most-likely employ an army of lawyers. They will search for loopholes to shut it down as quickly as possible. Perhaps they’ll even go after Damore’s character, inventing other reasons he was terminated. In the end, he might not get any kind of justice through the system—thanks to Google’s massive influence and power.
But maybe that was never his intention. Just filing the lawsuit might be enough to expose and embarrass the company. Already people have been combing through the documents. Some of Google’s dirty laundry is being aired. It seems that, while the company is hostile to white, conservative men, they have no problem with other genders. Including some truly bizarre identities.
From James Damore's lawsuit against Google.. apparently an employee of Google sexually identifies as “a yellow-scaled wingless dragonkin”? And more. h/t @TuckerCarlson https://t.co/5p18OnbvjZ pic.twitter.com/YPEbtX5DmO— Nick Short (@PoliticalShort) January 9, 2018
In a section that details Google’s shocking attack on families, the company apparently harassed an employee, saying “that conservative and traditional parenting techniques were unwelcome at Google.” Oh yeah? Yet they welcome “alternative lifestyles, including furries, polygamy, transgenderism, and plurality” (furries, by the way, are people who dress like animals and have sex—much better than traditional lifestyles!).
This isn’t parody. This isn’t a joke from an old Simpsons episode. This is real life, in 2018. A major company—that controls much of what you see—is actively pushing this agenda.
James Damore might not win his case. But we cannot ignore what he’s bringing to light. It’s fine for a company to employ diverse people. It’s clear, though, Google’s crossed a line. Their bias and warped values are a clear reflection of how they conduct their business. The rest of us must take a hard look at our relationship with Google. We might not like what we see.