A Different Angle on Google Employee Privacy

Google and other Silicon Valley giants are increasingly being targeted by the extreme right amid efforts to crack down on what

As controversy continues to swirl around James Damore, the Google engineer who was sacked after writing a memo about gender diversity at the company, the longtime New York Times columnist David Brooks has placed blame squarely on the shoulders of Google CEO Sundar Pichai.

In his memo, Damore slammed Google's "politically correct monoculture" and suggested women may lag behind men in top tech positions because women are less assertive and more neurotic. It wasn't until the memo went viral inside Google and was leaked externally last weekend that Google made a decision to take action, he said.

Google chief executive Sundar Pichai told employees in a note on Monday that portions of the anti-diversity memo "violate our Code of Conduct and cross the line by advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace".

Dory is a system used internally for Google employees to submit and vote on questions to be asked at town hall meetings.

My goal here instead is to relate another Google bias-claims-and-employee-privacy story from last month, which would have counted as fairly significant news in its own right had it not soon been eclipsed by the memo episode.

At Uber, 64% of employees who participated in the survey thought Google shouldn't have fired Damore.

Silicon Valley firms such as Airbnb are grappling with efforts to promote inclusion while banning users promoting extreme views
Silicon Valley firms such as Airbnb are grappling with efforts to promote inclusion while banning users promoting extreme views

For those not following along, Damore, a senior engineer at the world's biggest search engine, wrote a memo about a month ago entitled "Google's Ideological Echo Chamber". Google complied with all but three of OFCCP's requests: (1) a salary history for every person employed by Google during two snapshot periods, going back to each person's date of hire (which for some extended back to 1998); (2) another snapshot period that included not only the OMB-approved list of information, but also an additional 38 categories for each of the 19,539 people employed by Google on September 1, 2014; and, (3) the name, address, telephone number, and personal email of every employee reflected on either of the two snapshots.

Management at the largest tech firms, including Google, have publicly committed to diversifying their workforces, although the percentage of women in engineering and management roles remains low at many companies.

Pichai canceled the meeting, though, after some employees expressed concerns about being harassed online. Does it make sense to have, say, 85 percent of those website coders be male?

Damore concludes that "the viewpoint I was putting forward is generally suppressed at Google" but it was because of the "giant media controversy" that he was let go. Fired4Truth, widely believed to be Damore's Twitter account, is closing in on 50,000 followers in a matter of days.

The US National Labor Relations Act guarantees workers, whether they are in a union or not, the right to engage in "concerted activities" for their "mutual aid or protection". Critics of Damore's firing are planning to protest outside Google offices in five USA cities.

Finberg said that about half of the more than 60 women who have reached out to the attorney in the past three weeks still work for Google. Google was justified in revoking his right to represent it as an employee. It signifies their belief that liberals stifle free speech by humiliating right-wing voices.

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