Former Google engineer James Damore has silently ended his lawsuit against the trillion-dollar tech company following more than two years in court.
In 2017, Google fired Damore after he wrote a memo evaluating and criticizing the company’s diversity-oriented policies. The memo was leaked to the press. In the memo, Damore referred to the company’s initiatives as an “ideological echo chamber,” and called for Google to instead adopt policies that favored diversity of ideas and meritocracy. Tech website Gizmodo, which was first to publish the leak, referred to it as an “anti-diversity screed.” Other publications, including Scientific American, described it as a “sexist memo.” The author of the piece, like others, allegedly misrepresented the Damore memo to state that “[t]here is nothing admirable about a white male arguing that white males are biologically more fit for jobs in tech.”
Following widespread condemnation on social media and unrest in Google’s own ranks, Damore, who was identified as the memo’s author, was terminated. Google CEO Sundar Pichai released a company-wide notice to state that Damore had violated Google’s Code of Conduct.
Biological gender stereotypes made firing lawful
After he was fired, Damore filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against the company. His case suffered a setback in 2018 when the National Labor Relations Board concluded that his use of biological stereotypes was enough to disrupt the workplace, making his firing lawful.
“The high-profile discrimination dispute between Google and one of its former software engineers has quietly come to an end,” reported USA Today on Monday. “Ex-Google employee James Damore has moved to dismiss his lawsuit against the internet giant two years after alleging discrimination against conservative white men.”
Damore's lawyer Harmeet Dhillon responds
Last Thursday, Damore and three other individuals involved in the suit penned a written request to the Santa Clara Superior Court in California to drop the charges against Google, which also signed the motion. Damore’s lawyer Harmeet Dhillon said that the four men are prohibited from disclosing any information about their decision as part of an agreement with the tech giant, per Bloomberg. Bloomberg describes Damore as a “darling of the alt-right movement and conservative media,” who was “joined by other men with similar grievances.”
Lawsuit spurred new workplace anti-bullying protections
Dhillon says that despite the outcome, the lawsuit had an impact on Silicon Valley companies, which have since instituted new workplace guidelines designed to protect employees who don’t follow the prevailing political ideology, and to prevent bullying. Google has likewise advised its employees from debating politics at the workplace, which was previously allowed, if not encouraged.
Despite the internal changes, Dhillon remains doubtful that anything has changed with Google’s anti-conservative streak. “I think the bullies pretty much run the shop over there. Google has the most brutal ‘Lord of the Flies’ workplace for people who don’t fit it.”