Former Google employee suing over alleged wrongful firing

Former Google employee suing over alleged wrongful firing

James Damore was sacked from the company after objecting to diversity training, with a memo arguing that the company's efforts in that regard were misguided, partly due to fundamental biological differences between men and women.

A former Google engineer is suing the online and tech multinational claiming he was sacked for challenging workplace bigotry that ranged from white supremacy to gender discrimination.

It comes after another ex-Googler, James Damore, alleged the company discriminates against white male conservatives.

Human resources launched an investigation into Chevalier's posting habits, including Google-Plus posts, one of which including criticism of Republicans for "affiliating [themselves] with people carrying torches and yelling, "you will not replace us" at the rally in Charlottesville. Chevalier, who identifies as queer, disabled and transgender, alleges that Google terminated him over posts he made on internal forums advocating for diversity at Google and criticizing Damore.

"Human Resources explicitly told Chevalier that Google was ending his employment because of his political statements in opposition to the discrimination, harassment, and white supremacy he saw being expressed on Google's internal messaging systems", it adds.

In 2016, one employee posted the question, "If we have fewer Black and Latin@ people here, doesn't that mean they're not as good?" the suit said.

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The site reliability engineer, Tim Chevalier, claimed in the suit that the Mountain View tech giant's workplace culture was discriminatory toward minorities.

"But like any workplace, that doesn't mean anything goes", she wrote.

Chevalier, who was a Google employee from December 2015 up until his termination in November 2017, is now seeking damages for emotional distress and lost wages, as well as punitive damages. According to the complaint, the HR rep said using the term "white boys" could be perceived as a generalization about race and gender. He said in memo leaked to the press Damore claimed that Google's hiring practices, especially those aimed at boosting diversity, were misguided because of the biological differences between men and women. On Friday, a lawyer for the NLRB concluded that portions of Damore's memo were not protected by labor law, and so Google was within its rights to fire him. The firm's code of conduct prohibits promotion of harmful stereotypes based on race or gender, said spokeswoman Gina Scigliano. In August 2017, Damore was sacked from Google, and he recently lost his filing at the National Labor Relations Board.

The Chevalier lawsuit offers a different spin on the debates that played out on Google's internal email lists and message boards, which the attorney David Lowe described in a statement as "a cesspool of bullying and harassment". This is a very standard expectation that most employers have of their employees.

Google, on its part, says that employees should be communicated in a manner that complies with the company's policies. But when an employee does not, it is something we must take seriously.

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