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10 Jan, 2018 16:27

Alleged political bias of Google revealed in court documents

Alleged political bias of Google revealed in court documents

Allegations aired by a former Google software engineer fired in 2017 for authoring a memo describing “political bias” within the company as silencing conservative discussion, have been fully revealed in court documents.

Ex-Google engineer James Damore filed a class action lawsuit against the web giant on Monday. The legal case is in response to Damore’s sacking on August 7, 2017, after he shared a document entitled ‘Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber’ with colleagues last year.

The divisive document proposed reasons for gender gap in the technology industry, including that “neuroticism” may contribute to “lower number of women in high stress jobs.”

Damore highlighted diversity programs, designed for people with a certain gender or race, as an example of discriminatory practices within Google.

The ex-employee also offered “non-discriminatory ways” to reduce inequality in the workplace, such as fostering a more balanced work-life within the industry and making “leadership less stressful.”

At the time, Google CEO Sundar Pichai stated that “portions of the memo violate our Code of Conduct and cross the line by advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace.”

Alongside David Gudeman, an employee fired by Google in 2016, Damore claims that people holding different political beliefs to the prevailing views in the company are “singled out, mistreated and systematically punished and terminated” from their jobs.

READ MORE: Google sacks equality memo author, ‘gender stereotypes & conservative politics’ under fire

A copy of the class action complaint concerning labor laws now reveals a series of allegations levelled against Google.

A Google spokesperson told RT.com: “We look forward to defending against Mr Damore’s lawsuit in court.”

Here are the key allegations contained in the court documents:

Blacklist culture

The filing alleges that blacklisting people who hold conservative views was backed by at least three Google management staff in a workplace messaging forum.

Damore received threats from coworkers

It’s alleged that at some point Google encouraged workers to “attack other Googlers [employees] who expressed political viewpoints outside the company’s very narrow views.” Damore cites an email, allegedly sent by a fellow colleague, which labels him a “misogynist”.

Google approved a ‘peer bonus’ for person opposing Damore memo

It’s alleged a peer bonus for a person arguing against Damore’s memo was approved by Google’s Recognition Team. The court filing features a screengrab of an email, which appears to show that a person received a peer bonus after speaking up for “googley values… in the wretched hive of scum and villainy that is g/pc-harmful-discuss [Damore’s memo]”. The bonus was approved on August 31, 2017.

Google ‘shamed’ teams lacking female parity at TGIF meetings

In the lawsuit, Damore alleges two senior Google staff “shamed individual departments” if less than 50 percent of the group were women. The incident allegedly happened at an employee event in March 2017, leaving Damore to believe that “blatant gender preferences… were inconsistent with US and California discrimination laws.”

Google failed to protect Trump-supporting employees from harassment

Known supporters of then presidential candidate Donald Trump became a “hated and despised minority” at the company in 2016, according to Gudeman.

“Googlers feel comfortable slandering them in a public forum and assume there will be no consequences,” Gudeman reportedly told a fellow colleague. The statement was “met with anger and accusations of him ‘gaslighting’ instead of having genuine concerns,” the lawsuit documents report.