back to article New Google bias lawsuit claims company fired chap who opposed discrimination

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 …

Anonymous Coward

Does that mean...

... that Google is doing everything right, as they say when you piss off both sides in a partisan debate?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Does that mean...

Yes and no. I (white, straight, male, egg-head) work in a place that is latent misogynistic. (Sexual orientation is ignored, so we are clear there). Getting into an argument that female PhD students get not much help from their supervisors marks you as a troublemaker. It might be that the guys are better in muscling their way into it, but even the more strong willed gals seem to be ranked lower in the minds of some people.

To be clear: nobody is pushing any gender or supremacy or "gals can't do that" shite - openly. It's just there, lingering in the background.

Some of us younger postdocs push against it in the background, but the sausage fest that academia is....

(I am usually with the unequal opportunity rules of the BOFH: if you can do the job - you are in. I care f'all about gender, orientation, religion, ethnicity,... but if I see a PhD student that needs scientific help I try to help, don't want them to fail just 'cause some idiot supervisor ignores his duties - just because they are female or maybe not as pushy as some of their male counterparts)

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Paris Hilton

Re: Does that mean...

Five upvotes, five downvotes. That's what you get for trying to be nuanced.

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In a complete about face...

Nuanced?

Does that mean they're responsible for the death of Swype? https://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/02/22/rip_swype/

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Meh

Re: Does that mean...

The sixth downvote is from a reader who tires of poor-quality writing, which wastes readers' time in deciphering.

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Silver badge

Re: Does that mean...

With the 10th upvote being from someone who had no issues understanding the text or the point in question.

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Meh

Re: Does that mean...

The 7th downvote comes because there are 14 upvotes, and a part of me enjoys the symmetry of seeing 14 up and 7 down.

Now, nobody touch it and the balance will be maintained.....

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Re: Does that mean...

'but the sausage fest that academia is ...'

When arguing for gender equality, it's probably not a good idea to identify one gender using derogatory slang that refers to their genitals.

Had you referred to a group of women as, let's say, 'a taco feast' you would rightly be condemned for misogynistic language. It would appear that, as a warrior for equal treatment for men and women, you fail to practice what you preach.

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Re: Does that mean...

'but the sausage fest that academia is....' - Depends on your department tbh

Get out into the fresh air and visit other departments it might be an education.

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Re: Does that mean...

20th upvote because I get what he's talking about and disregard the extraneous 'triggers'.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Does that mean...

"Get out into the fresh air and visit other departments it might be an education."

We are out in the fresh air - much of the time (geo sciences). And I do collaborate with scientists from maths, history, geography, biology, marine sciences, geology, physics and computer science (of different sex, gender, orientation, nationality and ethnicity). The others should get out and meet people...

Ok, I should have written: the sausage fest that is our department (at least when it comes to senior staff, who are the problem). I thought that this would have been clear from the context - but reading comprehension is not everybody's forte.

And maybe I should not have used that term - so what. I can also complain about the foreigners around as well - this is not my home county I work in (I am the above male, straight, white AC and a f'ing foreigner, at least for some parties and people).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Does that mean..

"but reading comprehension ^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H writing is not everybody's forte."

There, fixed it for you.

The meaning in the original post was pretty clear and not at all like the "clarification".

Or, to summarise:

Academia != Problematic Senior Staff in Your Department

Depends on your department, tbh ~= What you said the second time, but not the first

Passive aggressive == Passive aggressive

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Re: Does that mean...

Google can't get it right, can they? Rock. Hard place. Oy vey!

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Facepalm

Re: Does that mean...

Do you feel discriminated against when one of the male sex refers to others of his own sex as 'sausage fest'? Really? REALLY?

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This is the problem when a private company tries to police the political views of its employees.

Keep politics out of the workplace and there won't be a problem. Employees go home at the end of the day and can do what they like and it's nothing to do with their employer any more.

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Unfortunately that's become impossible, companies like Google are under huge pressure from lobby groups and the media and so force those politics onto their workforce.

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Adam 52,

How was any of this forced on Google. How many companies have you worked for that have an internal social network with active discussion groups on politics and social policy? Including allowing (or possibly even encouraging) discussion on the company's own HR policy?

Were I running a company I might well have an internal message system / wiki / social thingamijig. But it would definitely be limited, and moderated. I might allow fun discussions on sport (if I were feeling brave), but no way in hell would I allow political discussion. That way madness lies.

the fact that Google allowed this, and then managed it so pisspoorly is nobody's fault but Google management.

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Flame

Sorry, but the problem being highlighted is the politics of the workplace.

If ALL staff in a company left all their biases at home then there wouldn't be a problem. But people don't just switch off bias like that, so all companies need to Police the views of everyone in the workplace.

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"Unfortunately that's become impossible, companies like Google are under huge pressure from applying huge pressure as a lobby groups and the media and so force those politics onto their workforce."

There, fixed that for you.

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Keep politics out of the workplace and there won't be a problem.

That becomes rather difficult when the workplace HR departments push politics within the workplace.

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Gold badge

Sorry, but the problem being highlighted is the politics of the workplace.

If ALL staff in a company left all their biases at home then there wouldn't be a problem. But people don't just switch off bias like that, so all companies need to Police the views of everyone in the workplace.

Now there's a recipe for a nightmarish dystopian future!

No! Companies should not police the views of everyone in the workplace. Firstly it's a recipe for trouble, feuds, timewasting and probably bullying. As has happened here.

Companies should police their employees' actions.

There's also a place for training and persuasion, in order to overcome bias. And robust policies, with proper oversight, to question when people are failing to promote a diverse range of candidates. Which also means someone also needs to be measuring how well the company is doing.

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@DontFeedTheTrolls

But people don't just switch off bias like that, so all companies need to Police the views of everyone in the workplace.

So you're suggesting that the Google discussion forums are just a honeypot to attract the comments that will get people fired?

Let this be a lesson to all those keyboard warriors who want to shove their (political) opinions (of whatever stripe) down other peoples' throats.

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"Keep politics out of the workplace and there won't be a problem."

Indeed. I find it hard to argue with the manager who said he was spending too much time expressing views on a social media platform. Too much time in that regard is anything greater than zero. Having a big of a chat while making tea or whatever is fine, and people shouldn't be expected to be a-social robots during working ours, but if you're spending any amount of time playing on a Facebook-substitute rather than actually working, I don't see any issue with you being fired for it, regardless of how correct the things you post on it might be. It's partly Google's fault for providing such a platform to employees in the first place, but given that they'd already warned him about his overuse of it, it certainly seems to be more his problem than theirs.

@Adam 52

"Unfortunately that's become impossible, companies like Google are under huge pressure from lobby groups and the media"

Google is by far the biggest lobbying group around, and have a huge amount of control over what media people see. Far from being under huge pressure from those areas, they're the ones putting pressure on everyone else.

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Devil

"But...

... if you're spending any amount of time playing on a Facebook-substitute rather than actually working,..."

Posted during your lunch break, of course.

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Fuckem. Be out and proud and take it head on.

"white, abled, straight, cisgender, and male" with the probable exception of straight are the progenitors of everything interesting and useful in the modern world. Since about 1760 in fact.

Minority groups? Lose every time in a stand up. WASP always wins. They can put their dystopian nightmares where the monkey out the nut. Stop complaining and get back on The Train where life is good.

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Unfortunately...

... Private companies *have to* police the political views of their employees... *expressed in the workplace* (as is their right under appropriate workplace legislation). By saying 'Keep politics out of the workplace' you are expecting them to police the workplace (to ensure politics stays out of it). Of course, the fact Google find themselves in this situation because they possibly *didn't* police their workplace appropriately (they possibly felt that being able to express your political view in a respectful manner is possibly conducive to good workplace morale, and had lax controls/rules surrounding this), is somewhat ironic.

One motto that has held true for online communities/IRC channels/workplace communications is: Don't discuss religion. Don't discuss operating systems. Don't discuss politics. :-)

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Google can allow this to happen because they are under ZERO economic pressure due to their status as pretty-much a monopoly. The company prints money so they don't have to give a hoot what any of their employees do or don't do, for the most part. Most other firms have to get their employees to work really, really hard and stay focused on "the work" to be able to make a go of it. When there's no pressure to make money almost any staff behavior is permitted.

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Anonymous Coward

@I ain't Spartacus

You don't need a recipe for it, we are already guaranteed a nightmarish dystopian future.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @AC

The future is Borg - resistance is futile.

Or put another way, compliance is not optional.

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It's just how you want to call it...

"hinted that Chevalier was spending too much expressing his views on Google's internal social media platforms"

I suppose it's just how you want to call it. I personally would describe this as getting fired for not doing the things you got hired for. But if that activity involved expressing yourself against discrimination then I suppose that description also somewhat fits.

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Re: It's just how you want to call it...

This is just a prime example of a massive social engineering experiment starting to come off the rails.

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LDS
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"internal social media platforms" ??

Maybe avoiding "internal social platforms" would be a smart move at workplaces? The author of "The Circle" looks to know well how those silly companies are organized inside.

I'm used to stay away from any internal "social" group of any company I worked for - because work is work, and life is life. I stay away even from company parties, dinners or whatever as much as I can.

While a few colleagues are also friends, not all colleagues are friends, and if I feel I need new ones, I'll look for them outside the workplace, and whatever I do inside the workplace it's better to be professional stuff only.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "internal social media platforms" ??

Unfortunately, this is in practice next to impossible, especially at Google. There is more than one "social media platform" in Google. The main one is---gmail. Yeah. Basically, stuff runs like a list serve. So, you subscribe to the list that informs of speakers coming to your campus. Replies are allowed. Guess where that goes. How about a general local events notifier? Yep.

And significant amounts of this are in fact work related, at least for some chunks of employees.

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Anonymous Coward

It does look like Google employees have a lot of time on their hands available for talking politics.

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It does look like Google employees have a lot of time on their hands

It's a shame they don't spend some of it on sorting their Youtube system out. I know it's asking too much that they pay artists a fair amount (after all that is by design. But they could avoid promoting fake news videos about children who've been involved in a high school shooting and accusing them of being actors - for an example...

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Time on hands

@AC

It does look like Google employees have a lot of time on their hands available for talking politics.

Whereas others have a lot of time on their hands available for posting comments about all sorts of topics here. :)

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Bastard.. made me look at the pdf -> Chevalier is an 'accomplished software developer and computer scientist' - was very curious as to what he did for Google (just in case it was Youtube lmao).

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They are pretty much a monopoly and don't have to do crap to make money. No need for management to have a difficult conversation with an under-performer because the money just keeps flowing in. My sense is that the posters on this site are pretty tech savvy, and he normalcy bias in typical posts comes out pretty strongly to a person like me who is not. Google's services are fine with me and lots of dweeb's like me because we don't know any better. It's not in our realm of experience as they say. So the herd will just keep on using their services and they can party-on debating LGBTQ+ issues. They may fall hard one day... but it won't be anytime soon.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Time on hands

Snowflake: I'm right, everyone who disagrees with me is wrong. I'm not open minded enough to consider opposing views. Ban free speech, unless it's mine.

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Anonymous Coward

So let me try and understand this.

Google sack a white straight male for his discriminatory views.

Google then sack a queer, disabled transgender for their discriminatory views.

I see no problem with this. Do we think that because one is in a minority they should be treated differently?

Equality - be careful what you wish for unless you really want it and understand how it works. You can't have biased equality.

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Noone should be dismissed just for having views. One hopes there's more to justify it both these cases than has been revealed in these columns.

In the Damore case, quite a lot is known, including what he actually wrote. In this case, less is known, leaving open (on simple Bayesian principles) a higher likelihood that his dismissal was indeed merited.

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It sounds like the latest guy to be fired was fired because he was spending too much time doing this, and not enough on what Google thought they were paying him for.

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Anonymous Coward

@Nick Kew

I did consider that myself but the statement from google starts with,

"All employees acknowledge our code of conduct and other workplace policies, under which promoting harmful stereotypes based on race or gender is prohibited"

Therefore my understanding is that this person was discriminating against others. There is no good discrimination even if what you are writing is generally true because you are labelling everyone which is the one thing you should be fighting against. I think some people just find it hard to understand the concept.

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Although it's interesting to note that an individual with the same name is referenced in the Damore/Gudeman case - page 21, then Exhibits B 16, 26, 40, 44, 46, 83 and 86.

(see https://www.scribd.com/document/368692388/James-Damore-Lawsuit )

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ds6

This is the comment I came here to see

Holding moderate, middling opinions that favour no one in particular also seem to be favoured by no one in particular, quite a peculiar thing. It's hard to fight for your thoughts when you aren't explicitly on anyone's side.

And, I can guarantee you, regardless of the outcome of this situation—i.e. it is publically revealed the latest firing was the result of discrimination and stereotyping, which I will assume based on how the ex-employee posits their claims—will surely be Google's paddling for being a naughty one and daring to harm a minority, even if it was for perfectly legitimate reasons.

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I really do think it's time people were educated about the difference between *discussing* prejudice and actually *employing* prejudice.

If your actions/words do not directly involve the subjugation/humiliation/oppression/exemplification of another person or persons based on an unalterable human characteristic then it should not be considered as discrimination.

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Joke

Re: This is the comment I came here to see

will surely be Google's paddling for being a naughty one and daring to harm a minority, even if it was for perfectly legitimate reasons.

Sacking someone for being a dick - that's a paddling.

Not sacking someone for being a dick - that's a paddling.

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Anonymous Coward

> I see no problem with this. Do we think that because one is in a minority they should be treated differently?

This is a start, but others whose public conduct was on par with Chevalier are still employed at Google. Liz Fong-Jones for example (one can verify this on Twitter). Now Google confirms what we've suspected all along: management allowed this nasty 'activist' subculture to fester for years, even rewarded it. Why weren't they "nipped in the bud" like Damore?

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Anonymous Coward

I find Liz-Fong Jones and Tim Chevalier are quite different in their tone and arguments. They may share similar convictions, but behavior is more important than opinions in these matters.

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Individual with the same name referenced in the Damore/Gudeman case

@Cederic: "Although it's interesting to note that an individual with the same name is referenced in the Damore/Gudeman case"

James Damore Lawsuit

'We don't have a problem with divisiveness. We have a problem with racism - here at google, and in the population at large'

'I'm queer-ass nonbinary trans person that is fucking sick and tired of being told to open a dialogue with people who want me dead .. we are at a point where the dialogue we need to be having with these people is "if you keep talking about this shit, I will hurt you"'

'Alternate proposal: moratorium on hiring white cis heterosexual abled men who aren't abuse survivors.'

'I would also like to state a boundary that if this thread becomes centered on how white men feel about being called sexist and how white people in general feel about called racist, I will mute notifications. It's up to +Colin McMillen how to moderate threads on his statuses, but that is my boundary.'

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