NLRB: Anti-diversity Google engineer wasn’t illegally fired

A National Labor Relations Board attorney recommended dismissing an unfair labor practices claim filed by a Google engineer who says he was illegally fired for stating that women are biologically unsuited for computer coding.

James Damore’s August 2017 internal memo, titled “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber,” argued that men dominate tech jobs not because of anti-female bias in the industry but because “abilities of men and women differ in part due to biological causes.” The 10-page screed went on to criticize Google’s diversity initiatives.

The memo went viral within the company, and outrage ensued among employees. Within days, Damore was terminated.

Damore filed an NLRB complaint in which he alleged Google was “misrepresenting and shaming me in order to silence my complaints.”

A January memo from an NLRB attorney, made public Feb. 15, concluded Google did not violate the National Labor Relations Act. It said Damore was not terminated for criticizing the company. If that had been the case, he likely would have had an NLRA claim.

However, the attorney wrote, Google fired Damore for making “unprotected discriminatory statements,” the kind of “employee conduct that could lead to a ‘hostile workplace.’”

She concluded Google was justified in firing Damore because, “Employers have a strong interest in promoting diversity and encouraging employees across diverse demographic groups to thrive in their workplaces.”

Regardless, Damore withdrew his NLRB complaint earlier this month, saying he planned to focus on suing Google instead.