James Damore’s labor complaint against Google was completely shut down

Google didn’t violate labor laws by firing engineer James Damore for a memo criticizing the company’s diversity program, according to a recently disclosed letter from the US National Labor Relations Board. The lightly redacted statement is written by Jayme Sophir, associate general counsel of the NLRB’s division of advice; it dates to January, but was released yesterday, according to Law.com. Sophir concludes that while some parts of Damore’s memo were legally protected by workplace regulations, “the statements regarding biological differences between the sexes were so harmful, discriminatory, and disruptive as to be unprotected.”

Damore filed an NLRB complaint in August of 2017, after being fired for internally circulating a memo opposing Google’s diversity efforts. Sophir recommends dismissing the case; Bloomberg reports that Damore withdrew it in January, and that his lawyer says he’s focusing on a separate lawsuit alleging discrimination against conservative white men at Google. NLRB records state that its case was closed on January 19th.

In her analysis, Sophir writes that employers should be given “particular deference” in trying to enforce anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies, since these are tied to legal requirements. And employers have “a strong interest in promoting diversity” and cooperation across different groups of people. Because of this, “employers must be permitted to ‘nip in the bud’ the kinds of employee conduct that could lead to a ‘hostile workplace,’” she writes. “Where an employee’s conduct significantly disrupts work processes, creates a hostile work environment, or constitutes racial or sexual discrimination or harassment, the Board has found it unprotected even if it involves concerted activities regarding working conditions.”

Damore’s memo, titled “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber,” contended that Google’s diversity efforts were misplaced because they ignored women’s biologically driven disinterest in technology. It includes many claims, which have previously been dissected in detail online. But Sophir focuses specifically on Damore’s “statements about immutable traits linked to sex — such as women’s heightened neuroticism and men’s prevalence at the top of the IQ distribution.” These statements were “discriminatory and constituted sexual harassment, notwithstanding [Damore’s] effort to cloak [his] comments with ‘scientific’ references and analysis,” she writes. Moreover, she says Google “carefully tailored” its reasons for firing Damore, limiting them to unprotected portions of the memo.

Some legal experts suggested that Damore might have a solid legal complaint, if he could argue that he was discussing working conditions. But that apparently wasn’t a strong enough case for the NLRB — and Damore will be making an arguably tougher one in claiming that Google is systematically biased against white men.

Al Latham, a partner at Paul Hastings LLP — which represented Google in the case — said that “we are gratified that the NLRB General Counsel found that Google acted lawfully in not allowing this employee to create a hostile work environment.”

Update February 19th, 9AM PT: Added statement from Paul Hastings.

Comments

Are they going to fire Sundar Pichai and Susan Wojcicki too then, for saying the same thing?

Where in the world did Sundar Pichai say anything remotely close to what James Damore said?

Damore deserved to be fired and good riddance.

Uh… nope, it’s not there at all. They’re talking about stereotypes being the reason, not biological differences as Damore did. Maybe try to pay attention before posting inane comments.

Your petty little facts are no match for his confirmation bias!

He’s just being "logical and rational" in his mind, like all guys who say these kinds of dumb things

"Women typically look for jobs with a purpose … studies show that." – Sundar Pichai

Just watch the video. They’re both making assumptions about women based on stereotypes, which is what they fired Damore for doing, and they were challenged for it in the interview.

Do you know the definition of a stereotype?

> Your petty little facts are no match for his confirmation bias!

I think the term "invincible ignorance" would be more appropriate.

The technical term is "finite state dogmaton".

> The technical term is "finite state dogmaton".

Oooh, I like that. "Down-market chatbot" might work, too.

"Women typically look for jobs with a purpose … studies show that … I think it’s important for them to see the ‘Why’ …" – Sundar Pichai in that interview around 19:00

What studies is he referring to, and how, exactly, is that any different from what Damore was saying in the memo (that people clearly didn’t read)?

> What studies is he referring to, and how,
> exactly, is that any different from what Damore was saying?

We’d explain it to you, but your brain might explode.

Ah yes, the dismissive nature of an ignoramous.

> Ah yes, the dismissive nature of an ignoramous.

It would take a surgical operation to get a clue into the head of a troll — and then his immune system would reject it.

then his immune

A mysogynistic, presumptuous ignoramous.

Even better.

> A mysogynistic, presumptuous ignoramous.

Let me think about that, and I’ll get back to you. Maybe I’ll get back to you. Maybe I’ll think about it. If I remember … who did you say you were? Oh don’t bother, not important.

Listening, listening, listening… nothing from Sundar Pichai remotely comparable to broad, imbecilic and frankly insulting swaths totally unsupported by anything but a troubled mind, like "Neuroticism" or "Openness directed towards feelings and aesthetics rather than ideas" or "Extraversion expressed as gregariousness rather than assertiveness". Nothing in what Pichai said can be considered a value judgement, which is what Damore filled his piece with.
Apparently you can read and listen, which is good. Maybe now’s the time for the next step, understanding.

Neuroticism is one of the Big 5 personality traits used in in the field of psychology. This is what Damore was referring too. It’s unfortunate that it’s also a word that has a different connotation to the general public. It is generally accepted in Psychology that women have higher levels of neuroticism.

It is also accepted in the field of psychology that women have a greater openness directed to feelings and aesthetics.
As Damore pointed out that these are trends in large populations and not acceptable to be applied at an individual level.

Nothing he really said was not backed up with the science and it should be noted he studied biology.

His memo pointed out at length some ways google could improve the outcomes of women within the company but this is almost always ignored in the reporting.

He obviously doesn’t have any problems with women in tech his beef was with th way google approaches the topic.

Imagine if the left reveled the same way some do about liberal tears.

Still trying to decipher this. Deplorableese

I think we’re dealing in right wing tears right now… and it tastes like ignorance and hypocrisy.

It does present the interesting question of if people can start bringing sexual harassment cases against companies when they start initiatives to make the workplace more friendly to women. This reads like the decision is that it’s sexual harassment consider the genders as at all different, which of course precludes actions to make Google (or any company) more accommodating to women since that assumes that women are different to a degree.

This makes no sense. They should have just noted his employment was at-will and moved on. Commenting on the memo in the way they did is going to be a legal fiasco if people start exploiting the decision.

Sophir concludes that while some parts of Damore’s memo were legally protected by workplace regulations, "the statements regarding biological differences between the sexes were so harmful, discriminatory, and disruptive as to be unprotected."

Are we now at a point where we think that biological difference between the sexes do not exist? Because they most certainly do.

Correct , but not in the ways that this idiot said they do. He got what was coming to him when google fired him.

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