New Google bias lawsuit claims company fired chap who opposed discrimination

Ad giant says complainant's posts went beyond 'lively debate', on Damore and more

The lawsuit sparked by the sexist screed penned by former Google employee has a bitter sequel, after another former Google employee has sued on grounds his opposition to Damore's memo and other discriminatory acts at the company saw him dismissed.

In a complaint (PDF) filed on February 21st 2018, former Googler Tim Chevalier alleged that Google's "technical workforce and leadership were overwhelmingly white, abled, straight, cisgender, and male, and its workplace culture reflected their views."

Chevalier "identifies as disabled, queer, and transgender" the complaint continues, and "recognized Google's workplace structure and culture were discriminatory towards minorities." Chevalier found Google's internal social networks were "widely used to belittle and harass women, people of colour, LGBTQ employees and other underrepresented groups" and "pushed back on the online bullying he and others experienced".

He therefore posted his own views, but was fired and "explicitly told" that "his political statements in opposition to the discrimination, harassment, and white supremacy" were the reason.

However the complaint says that Chevalier had previously been celebrated for his activism, earning nine bonuses after colleagues commended him to managers. But in late 2016 Chevalier was assigned a new manager who told him "That wasn't what we hired you for" and hinted that Chevalier was spending too much expressing his views on Google's internal social media platforms.

The manager later criticised Chevalier for labelling fellow Googlers' social posts "groupthink".

Chevalier later commented on the now-infamous James Damore post that argued women are biologically ill-suited to working in technology. One email he sent about the document labelled it "misogynistic". He also posted on Google+, and "criticized Republicans for 'affiliating [themselves] with people carrying torches and yelling, you will not replace us at the rally in Charlottesville, Virginia'."

Some of those posts caught the eye of Google's HR team and in September 2017 he was asked in for a chat to discuss various posts the complaint states "applied politically liberal views to the ongoing political debates between Googlers."

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Google investigated his conduct, froze his accounts while it conducted its probe. Six weeks later Chevalier was fired.

A statement issued by Chevalier's lawyers stated "It is a cruel irony that Google attempted to justify firing me by claiming that my social networking posts showed bias against my harassers. The anti-discrimination laws are meant to protect marginalized and underrepresented groups - not those who attack them."

He's therefore sued under sections of the California Labour Code that deal with political affiliations, plus five other laws.

Chevalier has sought compensation for lost past and future wages and benefits, re-instatement, punitive damages and costs.

The Reg sought comment from Google and spokeswoman Gina Scigliano sent us a statement that said "An important part of our culture is lively debate. But like any workplace, that doesn't mean anything goes."

"All employees acknowledge our code of conduct and other workplace policies, under which promoting harmful stereotypes based on race or gender is prohibited. This is a very standard expectation that most employers have of their employees."

"The overwhelming majority of our employees communicate in a way that is consistent with our policies. But when an employee does not, it is something we must take seriously. We always make our decision without any regard to the employee’s political views.” ®




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