Former Google engineer, and author of the infamous Misogyny Memo, James Damore attempted to take civil and legal action against Google after being fired in August, but on Thursday, a federal memo revealed that one of Damore's filings has been unequivocally denied.
The board proceeded to examine and issue its own ruling: Google "discharged [Damore] only for [his] unprotected conduct while it explicitly affirmed [his] right to engage in protected conduct." The NLRB emphasized that any charge filed by Damore on the matter should be "dismissed."
In explaining the board's reasoning, NLRB member Jayme Sophir points to two of the most deplorable parts of the hateful memo circulated by Damore in August: Damore's outrageous claim that women are "more prone to 'neuroticism,' resulting in women experiencing higher anxiety and exhibiting lower tolerance for stress" and that "men demonstrate greater variance in IQ than women."
Sophir describes how these gender-specific claims revolve around racist, sexist, and homophobic language in the workplace. She says that specific Damore statements were "discriminatory and constituted sexual harassment, notwithstanding [his] effort to cloak [his] comments with 'scientific' references and analysis, and notwithstanding [his] 'not all women' disclaimers."
The NLRB memo also includes a quote from Google's letter of termination given to Damore in August, which Sophir says focused specifically on offending, fireable content while also protecting other portions of his speech:
"I want to make clear that our decision is based solely on the part of your post that generalizes and advances stereotypes about women versus men. ... I also want to be clear that this is not about you expressing yourself on political issues or having political views that are different than others at the company. Having a different political view is absolutely fine. Advancing gender stereotypes is not."
Damore's lawsuit, which was joined by former Google employee David Gudeman when filed in January, is still awaiting trial.
Good on them!
I especially applaud them for making it clear that, while having different political views is still protected by law, saying bigoted things about equality, feminism, racial diversity, and LGBTQI+ is not.
That distinction is an important one, so that we don't allow evil ideologies to hide behind the idea of free speech.
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