Damore, Damerrier

James Damore is exploring his legal options against Google.

And apparently he has some:

According to Dan Eaton, an attorney and ethics professor at San Diego University, the engineer certainly has grounds for a case on two fronts. “First, federal labor law bars even non-union employers like Google from punishing an employee for communicating with fellow employees about improving working conditions,” Eaton writes.

And second, because the memo was a statement of political views, Eaton says Google may have violated California law which “prohibits employers from threatening to fire employees to get them to adopt or refrain from adopting a particular political course of action.”

An international corporation with armies of both lawyers, Google knew all this. They decided to take their chances with state and federal law anyway rather than stick up for one of their employees and risk public backlash. That’s an incredibly telling decision from a company that has mastered everything from artificial intelligence to self-driving cars.

Question:  Will a Goodle “self-driving car” actually drive someone who opposes Planned Parenthood?

But I digress.  If Mr. Damore has a legal plaintiff’s fund, I’ll be contributing.

By the way –

26 thoughts on “Damore, Damerrier

  1. And second, because the memo was a statement of political views, Eaton says Google may have violated California law which “prohibits employers from threatening to fire employees to get them to adopt or refrain from adopting a particular political course of action.”
    Hawaii has laws like that. They are meant to protect liberal workers in private employment, especially pro-union workers in private employment. Public employees, especially public employee union members, vote in lock step with the party of government. It would be nice to see the tables turned.
    What happens if your communications with your fellow employees about improving working conditions creates a hostile work environment for a member of a protected class?

  2. Apparently, this was not a case of a dimwit sending a company wide e-mail after one too many Kombucha’s.

    Damore’s manifesto was posted to an internal chat board that employees are encouraged to use to discuss company issues important to them. If this is the truth, it’s a game changer, in my opinion.

    Google, like all leftist run organizations, uses censorship to silence dissent and to keep wrong think from spreading. They can do that with their social media rackets, but selectively punishing employees for utilizing a service within the use it was created is discrimination.

    If I was Damore, I’d up the ante, and the irony, by claiming I was identifying as a pre-menstrual female the day I wrote the piece.

    Let ’em try and get that off of them without amputation.

  3. a company that has mastered everything from artificial intelligence to self-driving cars.

    Huh? is that robots I see walking the streets of Manhattan and Silicon Valley? And we have yet to see a self-driving car, and praise g*d never will. That was a stupid-ass attempt by the article’s author to aggrandize scroogle.

  4. “monetized”.

    And if Swiftee’s right, inviting comment and then firing the commenter does seem to be something that would encourage a successful lawsuit. But that noted, maybe it would be even healthier if Goolag followed Netscape, America On Hold, and Yahoo into irrelevance.

    On the flip side, I hate to say this, but simply trusting your employer to not act on the biases you know they have is the mark of a young, naive employee. Sometimes it’s necessary to pee on the third rail, but sometimes it’s more prudent not to do so.

  5. Damore: Google has an idealogical echo chamber where non-fealty to the Diversity Nazis will not be tolerated.
    Google: How dare you! We will not tolerate intolerance. You’re fired!

    Damore: There could be biological differences explaining why the male-female ratio in tech is so lopsided.
    Result – http://twitchy.com/brettt-3136/2017/08/08/npr-women-at-google-were-so-upset-over-memo-citing-biological-differences-they-skipped-work/

    Personally, I’ve observed competent, hard-working female engineers in my career, and then I’ve met the types that don’t help to dispel some of the negative stereotypes about them.

  6. And that, Ian, is exactly what Damore was noting. We should not be applying generalizations to individuals, rather we should be evaluating individuals individually.

    Naturally, in today’s Democratic/Progressive sphere, that’s heresy and you are to be judged by the content of your (possibly DNA-denying) beliefs and DNA-based color/sex.

  7. I think that Damore hit upon a great retirement ploy. Google couldn’t keep him there without driving 2/3s of their employees insane. They probably knew that they were running into a buzz saw of discrimination law if they fired him, but it’s a heck of a lot cheaper to send one engineer into a comfortable retirement at 28 than to deal with the internal turmoil the company would have to deal with had they kept him around.

    I look for Damore’s lawsuit to be quietly settled for a very substantial, but very secret, amount, and for Damore to not be worried about money for the rest of his life. Google can’t afford to fight this publicly without losing even more goodwill on both sides. Just the discovery will be seriously embarrassing to the company given the “secret meetings” in which folks like Damore were browbeaten and shamed. And given that 1/3 of the employees approved of Damore’s screed, Google can’t count on being able to suppress those meetings for long.

  8. I look for Damore’s lawsuit to be quietly settled for a very substantial, but very secret, amount, and for Damore to not be worried about money for the rest of his life.
    That would encourage others to do the same.

  9. And so scroogle will end up with 1/3 less workforce. Could they exist on pc power alone? I say it is a worthy experiment.

  10. Sorry Mitch, neither of those two situations look like they are anywhere near CLOSE to applying

    In the first case, he wasn’t seeking to improve Google’s working conditions, he was expressing openly bigoted views. Spewing nonsensical sexism isn’t “improving” nor seeking to improve the work place. Claiming that it is will rightly get you laughed out of court. Whoever the moron was who wants to claim that being sexually discriminatory is “improving” the workforce and gives this guy standing, well, proved he/she is a moron. You can CLAIM anything in a civil suit, it doesn’t make it true or likely to succeed. I can claim I’m Donald Trump, but unless I wear a bag of Cheetos stapled to my head and make stupid, useless threats, no one is going to believe me. Likewise, you can get some lawyer someplace to write a brief, but it no more makes a correct/truthful reflection of the law than would writing it on a pair of briefs from Fruit of the Loom.

    In the second case, the misogynist in question EXPRESSED his views openly on company time using company assets. He is not being coerced to adopt their views, he’s being told his views are sexually discriminatory and offensive. He was not told he has to adopt more inclusive views, he’s being told he can’t express views which are wantonly offensive. In short, he opened his mouth, he was not silent. He is not being told he has to accept a different view, he’s being told he can’t shoot off his mouth. In short, only in very special circumstances are you protected inside a workplace. California has VERY generous statutes to protect you if you seek to improve the workplace and similarly statutes to protect you from being coerced into supporting a political view. What’s ironic is I’d bet in another place and time, you’d RAIL against those statutes and talk about “right to work” and “at will” employment, but NOW you want to talk about this guy’s rights to say stupid stuff? Sorry folks, and news flash to Mitch, you have protected speech on the street corner from governmental intrusion and can say any stupid thing you want (and I’ll back up your right to be stupid), you do not have protections (or hardly any) at work. You are not being coerced into another position when you open your mouth, you are being punished for offending people with blatantly offensive words which “any reasonable person” will find offensive and in that, your employment is “at will” and subject to review and sanction. Anyone who thinks otherwise will soon lose their job if they act that thought out.

  11. He’s not going to get a settlement unless Google simply decides to settle because the right-wing hypocrites want this special snowflake to be treated more gently. They won’t settle as a legal matter, they’ll settle as a cost matter. As a legal matter, I think the guy has about as much standing as Mitch does to bitch about not being asked to join the National Organization for Women.

  12. BTW, Swiftee, I’ve had FAR more political “suggestion” thrown at me by my right-wing bosses than by the left in my career. The principle reason companies adopt what you would call “leftist” views about inclusion is not their leadership is one political stripe or another, it’s because they see lawsuits being lost when they DON’T adopt those positions. So, if you want to blame anyone, blame the American public that made the awards on cases you found so objectionable. Money talks. But I know you won’t do that, because then you couldn’t blame the left or the government, and instead would have to do what you’ve needed to do forever. Take responsibility.

  13. If he’d been caught driving drunk, or with cocaine in his random drug test (I don’t know if Google tests for drugs), or had a loud argument with his boss, they’d have given him a second chance, together with counseling or a class. To fire him on the basis of this memo is a panicky over-reaction that came from fear rather than sense. Google has announced to the world that it is spineless on sex/race issues, and will cave at the first hint of pressure. The lawyers and activists will gather like vultures over a carcass.

    This will not end well for Google. They’ll be playing defense on sex/race issues for a decade. It will cost them money and time, and be a permanent distraction.

  14. Google has announced to the world that it is spineless on sex/race issues, and will cave at the first hint of pressure.

    As usual, you’re wrong. Google has a spine, an iron spine. You either toe the PC line or you are subject to internal blacklists and an inability to do your job. You either toe the PC line or you are gone. There is no backing down from that position, as we’ve seen from the internal Google groups that have leaked. The HR department and management teams would rather be PC tyrants than allow wrongthink at their company.

    Google has armies of lawyers who had to know that what Damore could do that could tie them up in knots for years with lawsuits, government complaints, and embarrassing PR, yet management insisted on getting him out ASAP and firing his ass in the most public and humiliating manner possible. What that does to Damore is make if far more likely for him to begin a crusade against Google since Google no longer has any leverage on him (we’ve seen Xooglers proudly stating they’re compiling blacklists of companies, Googlers, and Xooglers that support Damore), and, indeed, Damore now needs to go public very loudly to have leverage against Google. They would have been far wiser to put him on leave and negotiate with his lawyer while easing him out to keep him quiet and get things to settle down a little, but management is so PC blinded that they choose the iron fist.

  15. Gender and race are subjects which must not be discussed intelligently at risk of summary dismissal. I’ve read the memo. The engineer has some old-fashioned ideas which the limited science on the subject does not support, but his memo was neither nasty nor unreasonable. He makes many good points, although I think his basis is flawed. Firing somebody for that memo is deeply intolerant, and deeply hypocritical for a company that likes to think of itself as open to diversity. Clearly Google aspires to a diversity of demographics, but not to a diversity of opinion. This is now common to all large and medium-sized American companies today. Beware — diversity does not mean what you might think it means. Openness and intellectual diversity are not prized by any company, particularly those who make a point of espousing their openness, tolerance, and diversity. If you express non-compliant thinking on certain subjects you will be dismissed.

  16. DaPeeve is on the loose. Loose reasoning that is.

    BTW, Swiftee, I’ve had FAR more political “suggestion” thrown at me by my right-wing bosses than by the left in my career.

    You’ve never worked for the government. You’ve never had HR come in and tell you flat out that no white male will be promoted until a quota of women and minorities has been reached. I had that happen to me at NASA. Under Reagan. I’ve had similar things at IBM and Bell Labs at various points in my career.

    The principle reason companies adopt what you would call “leftist” views about inclusion is not their leadership is one political stripe or another, it’s because they see lawsuits being lost when they DON’T adopt those positions.

    Being lost to the government. Most companies can fight back against specious suits (c.f. Ellen Pao), but the government can tie you up in knots forever, guilty or innocent, and make your company economically nonviable. Part of Google’s problem is that the Labor Department instituted a “disparate impact” investigation into gender/minority “under representation” against Google, which made them hyper sensitive to screeds of this sort. Not that Google has any shortage of SJWs in management positions, as the leaks have made clear.

  17. Again, on the Peev, who graces us with this drivel:

    In the first case, he wasn’t seeking to improve Google’s working conditions, he was expressing openly bigoted views.

    Quote from the post, please? I want to see the “openly bigoted views” you are claiming he has. He quite clearly enunciated his position that he thought that having programs to advance women and minorities in the workplace was a good idea. He also said that the way Google was doing it, by restricting those programs to certain sexes and races, was counterproductive and potentially illegal.

    His entire screed was a plea to see people as individuals, with their own abilities and desires. His two big sins, according to bigots like Peeve, was quoting some scientific evidence that there may be differences between the sexes in aggregate that could explain some of the disparity of result observed in Google employment of fewer women/blacks/etc, and saying that you don’t cure discrimination by race/sex/origin by discriminating based on race/sex/origin.

    Spewing nonsensical sexism isn’t “improving” nor seeking to improve the work place.

    Advocating opening programs to help develop employees to all races and both sexes is not seeking to improve the workplace?

    Strange definition of fairness and respect for the individual you have there, Peeve.

    I can claim I’m Donald Trump, but unless I wear a bag of Cheetos stapled to my head and make stupid, useless threats, no one is going to believe me.

    In which case you’d be improving over your general behavior and appearance, so society would appreciate it. I urge you to do so immediately.

    In the second case, the misogynist in question EXPRESSED his views openly on company time using company assets.

    In a company approved forum designed for just such a purpose. And perhaps you haven’t noticed, but Googlers are officially given a fair bit of “free time” to work on projects that interest them, on company time and using company equipment. Sorry, that won’t fly here.

    He is not being coerced to adopt their views, he’s being told his views are sexually discriminatory and offensive. He was not told he has to adopt more inclusive views, he’s being told he can’t express views which are wantonly offensive.

    No, it’s certainly no coercion when you’re fired for expressing those views despite being told that the forum in which he posted those views was explicitly for the discussion of controversial topics, nor when he was urged to have a “dialog” about the subjects he discussed.

    No, he’s been told that his views are contrary to the Code of Conduct that Google has officially published, and that by expressing them he was made those in his workplace “uncomfortable” and been discharged. There’s a difference. And in general, I would have little problem with Google being able to discharge him, with a couple of exceptions. First, Google has repeatedly said that there should be frank and honest discussions on the topic of gender equality. Firing someone for frankly and honestly discussing the subject and for trying to improve what he (and most Americans) view as illegal discrimination based on race and sex when he’s been told that such a discussion is necessary, is wrong. Secondly, it’s California, where the laws are different (and at the time, they were there to make life safe for liberals, but are likely now to be turned on Google). You’re not supposed to fire someone for expressing political beliefs there, which Damore clearly did. Google is treading on thin ice.

    In short, he opened his mouth, he was not silent. He is not being told he has to accept a different view, he’s being told he can’t shoot off his mouth.

    No, he’s being fired for shooting off his mouth when he was told by his CEO that it was ok to shoot off his mouth, but saying something the CEO didn’t like.

    And as for the “blatantly offensive” part of your screed, 1/3 of Googlers agreed with Damore even in the PC haven of SV. Obviously it wasn’t “blatantly offensive” when that many Googlers agreed with the sentiments, as would a majority of Americans if they actually read what Damore wrote and not what the media is alleging he said. Even Emery, a fellow traveler, could see that what was allegedly written is not what was actually written.

  18. Enrollment in Engineering programs by women is stuck at around 25%, the same as it was 30 years ago, despite 30 years of trying to address the problem. Enrollment in Computer Science programs by women has gone down over that period. In the mean time, law and medicine have become majority female in schools and young graduates. While there is sexism and bias everywhere, it is hard to argue that the bias sexism and bias created in Engineering and Comp Sci is any greater than the one that was there in law and medicine. It is also hard to argue that women are significantly less capable at one profession or another; time and testing fail to show a difference. The difference is that young women are not choosing to pursue these fields. I’m not sure what to do to change that, and I’m not at all convinced that any of the existing programs (take Google’s, for instance) are making a difference. How hard should we be trying? Who are we to say that the young women making poor choices in not pursuing those fields?

    Engineering and Comp Sci are havens for introverts and those leaning towards certain Asperger tendencies, both men and women, but there are more men than women with these qualities. The concentration of that type of person attracts more of the same, while putting off many others. You do not need to be an introvert three steps down the Asperger spectrum to succeed in those professions, and many are not, but you do have to get along with those type of people, as you will find them throughout the profession. So there is a cultural problem. There are a lot of geeky men who don’t communicate well and feel uncomfortable around people, particularly women. But what are you going to do? Those people exist, and many of them are good engineers and coders. There is a nice side and a nasty side to geek culture, not surprisingly. Many women find it off-putting. I don’t see how this will change.

  19. Emery, you have it right. Engineering has a strong weed-out at its beginning, and the amount of time that a typical engineer spends actually doing engineering is far less than half his working life. It tends to be a brutal grind and it requires a certain personality and interest pattern to stay in engineering long.

    I’ve known many fantastic female engineers (including one of the best RF IC engineers I’ve ever met), but there are far fewer of them. My own daughter aces math and science, but she’s really not interested in engineering, she prefers science and in particular biological and medical areas. In that sense, she’s like probably the majority of women who seem to like interacting with people more than numbers. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

    I wouldn’t suggest engineering to anyone without an extreme passion for it. In fact, I’d suggest many other fields as having far better work/life balance.

  20. Excellent dissection of Penigma’s points, nerdbert. I’m not sure how he got “bigoted” out of the memo. Perhaps he didn’t read it in its entirety? Ironic, considering the length of some of his and DG’s posts…

  21. Penigma, your argument would be more effective if you were able to cite specific examples from the text of the memo itself, and use those examples to explain why and how the memo violated the Code of Conduct.

    For example, you might say “Damore said in the memo, quote, all women are stupid end quote. This violates the Google Code of Conduct, clause IX, which provides quote you can say anything you want as long as it doesn’t offend anybody end quote. Damore’s statement offended someone, therefore, Google was correct to fire him.”

    Of course, that procedure would require you actually to read Damore’s memo and the Google Code of Conduct, then apply some logical reasoning ability. It’s hard work but there’s a chance thinking people might agree with your conclusion, if presented in a coherent and reasonable manner.

    Or you could just pull some s*** out of your a** like you usually do, which won’t change anybody’s mind but will signal your virtue to the rest of the s*** pullers. To the extent that’s all you care about, your work here is done.
    .

  22. Google is free to label what they consider sexist or bigoted speech as abusive; courts give companies a lot of leeway there. There’s nothing in the California constitution that would, for instance, stop an employer for firing an employee for cussing out his supervisor, for instance. I understand that Damore plans to sue. Google will probably pay him off rather than go to trial, but it would be interesting to hear a judge’s take on the matter.

Leave a Reply