The Google software engineer who authored a 10-page anti-diversity manifesto may be fired, a memo from CEO Sundar Pichai suggests. Pichai’s statement, obtained by Recode on Monday, notes that “portions of the memo violate our Code of Conduct and cross the line by advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace.” Pichai’s memo continued:
To suggest a group of our colleagues have traits that make them less biologically suited to that work is offensive and not OK. It is contrary to our basic values and our Code of Conduct, which expects ‘each Googler to do their utmost to create a workplace culture that is free of harassment, intimidation, bias and unlawful discrimination.’
A Google engineer told Gizmodo that employees had reported the author of the manifesto, James Damore, to HR, with at least one complaint citing a “hostile work environment.”
Recode, crediting anonymous sources, reported that Google likely plans to fire Damore. In a separate report—citing an email from Damore—Bloomberg says the engineer has already been fired for “perpetuating gender stereotypes.” Google did not respond to Gizmodo’s multiple requests for comment on the status of Damore’s employment.
Damore has worked as a senior software engineer at the Mountain View office since December 2013, according to his LinkedIn. His screed, titled “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber,” went internally viral, as first reported by Motherboard on Saturday. Gizmodo published the memo in full.
While Google’s initial response to the anti-diversity screed was arguably weak, the firing of Damore—if it happens—could signal the company’s efforts to take issues of diversity and inclusion more seriously, and with a sense of urgency. The company was recently accused by the US Labor Department of having an “extreme” gender pay gap. In 2013, the company punished one of its engineers for creating more transparency internally around salaries.