Google engineer James Damore was fired after writing a memo, which, according to Damore, the company said “perpetuated gender stereotypes.” Damore confirmed his dismissal with Bloomberg on Monday, stating he’s “currently exploring all possible legal remedies.”
According to Bloomberg, the 10-page memo challenged Google’s diversity policies, which Damore stated is the reason behind Google’s lack of women in tech and leadership (a recent Google demographic report reveals that 80 percent of its tech staff and 69 percent of its general staff are men). After making its rounds throughout the company, it didn’t take long before the memo gained public attention over the weekend. The news seemingly put pressure on Google executives to take a stand.
So what’s actually going on? Though Google has previously stressed being “founded under the principles of freedom of expression, diversity, inclusiveness and science-based thinking,” the firing of Damore has led many to believe his claims were true. Danielle Brown, Google’s VP of diversity, integrity and governance, countered that notion in a statement, however. “We are unequivocal in our belief that diversity and inclusion are critical to our success as a company,” Brown said. “We’ll continue to stand for that and be committed to it for the long haul.”
Important to note: Google is also working through a lawsuit from the U.S. Department of Labor, which alleges the company “systemically discriminates against women.” Though Google reportedly denied the charges, they also declined to share full salary information with the government.
Any of this sound familiar? In June, Travis Kalanick—founder and chief executive officer of Uber—resigned from his position following protest from Uber’s investors. If you recall, Uber was dealing with a messy gender bias and harrassment scandal of its own.
Kalanick’s resignation came after a viral investigation that ultimately resulted in the firing of over 20 of Uber’s employees.