Fired Google Engineer Hires Lawyer in Free Speech Case

By Maya Kosoff Updated at 2017-08-24 17:30:02 +0000

Google

Google found itself at the epicenter of controversy this month after a 10-page anti-diversity manifesto written by one of its employees, which had circulated internally at the company, went viral. James Damore, the employee who wrote the memo—which argued that women are less biologically inclined to pursue careers in tech-related fields, and that Google is intolerant of employees with conservative viewpoints—was fired for violating the company’s employee code of conduct. Now, Damore has hired Harmeet Dhillon, a California representative for the Republican National Convention and a civil-rights attorney, to represent him. Dhillon will represent Damore in a complaint he filed against Google with the National Labor Relations Board.

Dhillon and Damore haven’t filed a lawsuit against Google, although Dhillon posted on Twitter that her firm is seeking other Google employees who believe Google discriminated against them for their views. “We are also engaging with several other Google employees or former employees who have suffered adverse employment actions at Google,” Dhillon told Bloomberg in a statement. “We are exploring all potential legal avenues for these clients, and gathering facts about working conditions at Google, particularly for those whose views are inconsistent with Google’s political orthodoxy.” Dhillon, who has previously taken on cases pushing back against the Bay Area’s progressive culture, including representing Republican students at U.C. Berkeley who sued their school to allow Ann Coulter to speak there, was rumored to have been considered by Trump to lead the Department of Justice’s civil-rights division.

Damore’s memo caused an uproar in Silicon Valley, where tech leaders have been struggling to respond to deep-rooted issues of sexism and gender discrimination while also facing growing pushback from the right. The culture war only grew more toxic in the last two weeks, as a number of tech companies moved to ban far-right, white nationalist, and neo-Nazi users and groups from their platforms in the wake of the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. Damore retaining Dhillon, a prominent conservative free-speech defender, suggests the battle is just beginning.


BY MAYA KOSOFF Writes about tech for VanityFair.com

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