Former Google employee suing over alleged wrongful firing

Google CEO Sundar Pichai   Justin Sullivan  Getty Images

A former Google software engineer has filed a lawsuit against the company claiming he was sacked after speaking out in favour of diversity and against harassment.

The lawsuit alleges that Chevalier was explicitly told by Google he was being fired because of "political statements in opposition to the discrimination, harassment, and white supremacy he saw being expressed on Google's internal messaging systems".

Software developer Tim Chevalier alleges that the technology giant was rife with harassment and discrimination, and that he was dismissed in November 2017 after he spoke out in support of diversity.

Damore was sacked for "advancing harmful gender stereotypes" in August 2017 after the memo, in which he posited that psychological differences between men and women explain the gaping gender imbalance at Google, was leaked and went viral. The lawsuit claimed Google discriminates against white men and conservatives.

"It is a cruel irony that Google attempted to justify firing me by claiming that my social networking posts showed bias against my harassers", Chevalier said in a statement.

Reached for comment about Chevalier's lawsuit, Google spokesperson Gina Scigliano said in a statement: "An important part of our culture is lively debate".

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

According to Google, the company was enforcing its policy against the promotion of harmful stereotypes. Other employees then suggested on the message board that Google would have to lower its hiring standards to increase its number of minority workers. The overwhelming majority of our employees communicate in a way that is consistent with our policies. However, when an employee defies it, the search giant takes the matter seriously. "We always make our decisions without any regard to the employee's political views".

Google has another lawsuit related to diversity on its hands.

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.

At the same time, Chevalier's lawsuit contradicts the claims that Damore previously made in his lawsuit, that Google does not reprimand liberals. One post also called Damore's memo "misogynistic".

In his complaint, Chevalier stated that according to HR, the term "White Boys" could be perceived as the generalization about the race or gender. In August 2017, Damore was sacked from Google, and he recently lost his filing at the National Labor Relations Board. 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.

For now, Google remains legally challenged and internally mired in the same culture war that's engulfed much of the country.

Liz Fong-Jones, one of the Google engineers targeted for harassment, says Chevalier was a victim of the same kind of "weaponization of HR" used to silence other advocates.

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