A slightly broader view of the Google lynching of their outspoken, free thinking employee.
Many commentators have characterized this as a typical example of SJW's run amok, or as Progressive Puritans/Totalitarians doing their normal thing of crushing some poor chap who's just trying to do his job and exercise his right to point out injustice and foolishness. I think there's a bit more to the story.
Alphabet Inc.’s Google has fired an employee who wrote an internal memo blasting the web company’s diversity policies, creating a firestorm across Silicon Valley.
James Damore, the Google engineer who wrote the note, confirmed his dismissal in an email, saying that he had been fired for “perpetuating gender stereotypes.” He said he’s “currently exploring all possible legal remedies.” For reference, Mr. Damore's memo is here.
But, Google's issue as a company is bigger than simple squashing the politically unpopular opinion of one employee.
From the article linked above we learn that the memo and surrounding debate comes as Google fends off a lawsuit from the U.S. Department of Labor alleging the company systemically discriminates against women. Google has denied the charges, arguing that it doesn’t have a gender gap in pay, but has declined to share full salary information with the government. According to the company’s most recent demographic report, 69 percent of its workforce and 80 percent of its technical staff are male.
So, the problem really began when the government sued the company for gender discrimination. Now, I don't know the details of the Dept. of Labor's suit, but I'd wager serious bitcoin that the government's argument is that a statistically significant difference in gender beyond the population in general is evidence per se of discrimination. This standard makes the suit almost impossible to defend, and puts Google on the hook for huge legal exposure, since they are guilty simply because their work force favors one gender or another.
Reacting as any bureaucracy run by penny pinching cowards would, they've created an internal department dedicated to addressing the issue of gender. Very helpful in the lawsuit, but disastrous for the company's need to focus on their business. Whether they hire all men, or all women, or some combination is irrelevant to their business, but not to the government head counters and their need to keep their legal departments busy by suing someone.
Google's new commissar of diversity and litigation protection put in her two cents (of course, it's a her - looks really good to the jury if it's a her) on the controversy.
After the controversy swelled, Danielle Brown, Google’s new vice president for diversity, integrity and governance, sent a statement to staff condemning Damore’s views and reaffirmed the company’s stance on diversity. In internal discussion boards, multiple employees said they supported firing the author, and some said they would not choose to work with him, according to postings viewed by Bloomberg News.
“We are unequivocal in our belief that diversity and inclusion are critical to our success as a company,” Brown said in the statement. “We’ll continue to stand for that and be committed to it for the long haul.”
Why not just hire people based on their talent and their desire to work for your company? Isn't that more critical to the success of your company, Danielle?
So before this current issue developed, Google was being harassed by the government based on legal standards that would require their guilt be found if they simply had more of one gender than the ratio common in the general population. How very Soviet.
Reacting in the only way big risk averse institutions know how, they catered to the government's demands, hiring a useless, victim creating director whose only job is to hassle people based on a characteristic they cannot control. Too many men in your department? Your career is at risk if you are a man, no matter how good of a job you do. That value you add to the company through your diligent labor is far offset by the cost of litigation with the government based on illogical standards that are virtually impossible to live up to if your goal is to hire on merit.
Business crippling, either way. The only solution I can see is for congress to pass a law setting a standard on this issue based on logic and good science, or better yet, simply making such harassing litigation impossible through an immunity.
For example, the law could state that as long as a company can show gender blind hiring, they are immune from being sued on this ground. That would still allow legitimate litigation when a bad company really does discriminate based on gender, but give an easy and fair way to protect against such allegations if they are unfounded. Maybe make the plaintiff liable for litigation costs if their suit is dismissed on summary judgement prior to trial, as a disincentive for frivolous complaints.
The bigger picture here is that the initiator of this mess is in fact the Department of Labor, who sued Google, and thus made the company hyper sensitive to such allegations and caused them to overreact, as could be expected, I suppose.
Then, when an employee pointed out the foolishness and blindness inherent in the whole situation, Google overreacted once again by firing him. Certainly, I believe the managers at the company, finding themselves presented with the arguments in the man's memo, felt cornered into terminating him. Surely he will sue, but if they didn't fire him, they'd be creating even more litigation in the future, with both the government and from other employees, while handing their legal opponents fat evidentiary gifts to help them in their claims.
It's the classic slippery slope. Instead of courageously fighting the initial government lawsuit, they cowered behind their desks, and once cowering and kowtowing to the government's allegations, they backed themselves blindly into their current conundrum.
And that's money and manpower they won't be spending on making a better product or thinking up the next big thing.
That's why this is so big of a problem for all of us, not just for Google and Mr. Damore. And no surprise, it has all generated out of a government lawsuit and the pearl clutching church ladies who demanded everyone conform to their twisted ideology of "equality."
And of course, we have to end with Orwell's two minutes of hate, where, in a rage, all Google employees scream Damore's name.