(CN) – The former Google engineer who was fired over a memo he wrote that suggested biological reasons are behind the predominance of male engineers at the company filed a lawsuit in state court on Monday.
James Damore says Google fired him over his political views, conservative thought and because he is a white man, according to a class action filed in Santa Clara Superior Court.
“Google employees who expressed views deviating from the majority view at Google on political subjects raised in the workplace and relevant to Google’s employment policies and its business, such as ‘diversity’ hiring policies, ‘bias sensitivity,’ or ‘social justice,’ were/are singled out, mistreated, and systematically punished and terminated from Google, in violation of their legal rights,” the complaint, filed on Damore’s behalf by attorney Harmeet Dhillon of the Dhillon Law Group, says.
Damore, who garnered national attention after releasing a memo that questioned whether Google’s hiring practices geared toward bringing more women into its workforce was practicable, was joined in the lawsuit by former Google employee David Gudeman.
Gudeman was fired in 2016 because he made comments supporting now-President Donald Trump during the presidential campaign and because he questioned a co-worker’s claims that he was being investigated by the FBI solely because he was a Muslim, according to the complaint.
Furthermore, Google discriminated against the plaintiffs by threatening to blacklist employees with conservative viewpoints and even allow harassment against those with viewpoints that ran against “liberal orthodoxy,” according to the complaint.
“In California, political viewpoints are protected,” Dhillon said during a press conference. “I can no more refuse to hire somebody who voted for Bernie Sanders than Google can refuse to hire someone who voted for the president.”
Dhillon is a California representative on the Republican National Committee. She also filed a lawsuit against the city of San Jose claiming it failed to protect attendees at a Trump rally. That suit is still pending.
In an email to Courthouse News, Google said they are eager to defend themselves against the allegations.
“We look forward to defending against Mr. Damore’s lawsuit in court,” a Google representative said.
Damore first gained notoriety after writing a 10-page memo titled “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber: How bias clouds our thinking about diversity and inclusion.”
The memo was published on Motherboard, went viral and Damore was eventually fired by Google as the company said he perpetuated gender stereotypes.
Damore said he was only attempting to question Google’s hiring practices and pointed to studies that discussed population level-distribution differences between men and women as one possible explanation for why more men than women became software engineers.
Google was also sued last September by three women claiming the company paid its men more than its women. The case is still pending.
Separately, the Justice Department is investigating whether the company discriminates by paying female employees less than their male counterparts.
Silicon Valley and the majority of its technology companies have faced scrutiny over whether their cultures are conducive for female employees to thrive.
Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, for instance, was recently fired in large part because he ran a company that maintained a frat culture in which qualified women felt uncomfortable and disregarded.