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Engelmeier & Umanah Recent News

Google – An Opportunity Lost

| Sep 27, 2017 | Information Technology |

Google found itself in the middle of a situation regarding diversity and free speech this month. The basic facts are this-a tech employee, on a Google sponsored message board, wrote a ten page “manifesto” offering “biological” reasons for the abundance of males in Google’s tech area, potential solutions for remedying this disparity and challenging Google’s diversity activities as discriminatory, among other things. Somehow the document was leaked outside Google and, on the progressive side, the manifesto was met with outrage for its alleged biases and stereotypes. On the alt-right side, it was welcomed as a reasoned assault on rampant political correctness. I encourage readers to look at the manifesto yourself and make your own conclusions. Having done so, I don’t see the author as malicious or evil or a right wing zealot. Either way, Google found itself on the horns of a dilemma. On one hand it values the free expression of ideas without fear or shame. On the other, it values its commitment against bias and to promote diversity in the workplace. What it ended up doing was to fire the author. Now the author, James Damore, has become a pariah to the left, and a sacrifice to the altar of political correctness to the right. After reading the statement of the CEO, I thought of 1984 by George Orwell. Google says it “strongly ” supports the right of employees to express themselves, even with unpopular ideas, yet the message remains, if they do so, they violate the Code of Conduct. See statement of Google CEO here. https://www.blog.google/topics/diversity/note-employees-ceo-sundar-pichai/ Google has only itself to blame for the division that has exploded within its workforce, its users, and the internet because of this event. It has demonstrated it has a no tolerance policy regarding diversity-diversity of thought that is.

It appears that Google is in the middle of some sort of legal challenge to its lack of women in its workforce. Mr. Damore, whatever the merits of his manifesto, offered rationales for this disparity that have nothing to do with purposeful discrimination, exonerating his employer. By condemning Damore and his analysis, has not Google eliminated a number of arguments which it could have used to defend itself? As a defense lawyer, I scratch my head on that one. As a plaintiff lawyer, I rejoice!

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Engelmeier & Umanah Recent News