Sorry; I couldn’t resist the pun. I really have been thinking about it.
Some time during the weekend of August 4–6, James Damore, an engineer employed by Google, publicly released a 10-page memo suggesting that the gender imbalance of Google’s technical staff might be at least partially explained by inherent differences between men and women, and recommending changes in Google’s diversity policy.
On Monday morning, August 7, he was no longer a Google employee. He was fired—for the wrong reason.
A note distributed to Google employees by Executive Officer Sundar Pichai said the memo “violate[s] our Code of Conduct and cross[es] the line by advancing harmful gender stereotypes.” Harmful or not, Damore’s memo did not rely on stereotypes, but on research published in professional journals.
Fortune magazine says the memo claims that “disparity between men and women’s circumstances is fair.” It does not; it tries to explain why the disparity exists and what can be done about it. It does assert that “discrimination to reach equal representation is unfair.”
David Brooks, in an opinion column in The New York Times, provided an unbiased description of the memo, but unfairly criticized Mr. Pichai for firing Damore.
The real reason Damore should have been fired was that he had publicly opposed company policy. That made him an adversary of the company. A company has to depend on the loyalty of its employees and should not employ its adversaries. If Damore wanted to influence company policy, he should have suggested changes through internal administrative channels.
The strange thing is that throughout his memo, Damore repeatedly asserted that Google did not tolerate dissent. He must have expected that he would not be tolerated. One gets the impression that he wanted to be fired.
I have read the complete memo. It can be found here.