A Google engineer who was fired after writing a memo defending the gender gap in Silicon Valley tech jobs as a matter of biology has sued his former employer for discrimination.
The Dhillon Law Group said it was filing a class action law suit on behalf of James Damore and others it says were discriminated against due to their "perceived conservative political views," their gender and their Caucasian race.
The complaint, filed in a court in Santa Clara, California, says Damore and his colleagues "were ostracized, belittled, and punished for their heterodox political views, and for the added sin of their birth circumstances of being Caucasians and/or males."
The company uses illegal hiring quotas to achieve a certain percentage of women and minority employees, and "Google's management goes to extreme — and illegal — lengths to encourage hiring managers to take protected categories such as race and/or gender into consideration as determinative hiring factors, to the detriment of Caucasian and male employees," the complaint stated.
Google fired Damore in August after he distributed a 3,000-word missive arguing that the "preferences and abilities of men and women differ in part due to biological causes and that these differences may explain why we don't see equal representation of women in tech and leadership."
Google chief Sundar Pichai said "portions of the memo violate our code of conduct and cross the line by advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace."
"To suggest a group of our colleagues have traits that make them less biologically suited to that work is offensive and not OK," he added.
However, Pichai defended the author's right to criticize Google training, workplace ideology and whether programs promoting workplace diversity are adequately open to all.