Honestly, this whole thing is just ugly. I read what he wrote. It was (mostly) ugly but contained a lot of truth.
Before you downvote/call me a Nazi, I'm a mixed race woman in tech.
I definitely see people hired just because of their minority status. I also see people hired who are minorities but also great at their job. It's not a binary pattern. But those who are hired just because they are a POC or female, yet are terrible at their job stand out. People notice it, but few say it.
Our company recently hired a black woman as a "Software Engineer" who can't write a SQL statement. She has a "taken some tutorials" level of programming skill as far as I have noticed and produces things very, very slow. People notice this, and it makes them angry. I'm sure the other engineers talk about this even more when I'm not in the room. Our boss is proud of how much he is "making the team diverse" yet it's only going to cause problems for the team.
I like to think I was hired based on my skillset, not to improve the numbers. I've worked hard to get here. People likely forget or don't care how "diverse" I am when I am working because I produce. And I fully support bringing in diverse candidates, it's essential to get those viewpoints, so long as they are a qualified candidate to start with.
I do think that men and women are biologically different and, it likely does contribute to a lack of interest in tech from women. Almost all of the women from my social circle are smart, pragmatic, driven and successful yet have zero interest in a technical career. They excel in their given industries but ours they want no part of. I don't believe intelligence is more prevalent in either gender, but I do believe there are some traits that shape who we are.
That's something that's rarely addressed, for fear of being ostracized.
As far as his "conservative white male" discrimination claims, I've seen that too. My boss specifically requested candidates that are not middle-aged white males. But it's nowhere near the same level of discrimination that people of color or women have endured for decades. Perhaps the reason people don't feel sorry for conservative white males is that if they are rejected by one company they can keep trying and will find an "old school" company that will hire them. We have not had that luxury, for blacks and women it was 100 nos for every 1 yes. It's not that way for white guys, sorry.
He doesn't have a choice really. With the PR mess he got himself into, no big company will ever hire him. Imagine the possible headlines "Microsoft hires the James Damore, the male supremacy advocate fired from Google". Nope, regardless the technical skill or his actual personality, his public image is forever ruined.
So he realistically has a choice between becoming a paid speaker for fringe ultra-right organizations, trying to sue Google and retire off the proceeds, or leaving tech and becoming a noname blue collar or a freelancer forever hiding his face.
I hope they will settle for an amount sufficient for retirement and the dude's life won't get ruined due to a stupid political game he didn't even realize he was playing.
From the article:
> women may not be equally represented in tech because they are biologically less capable of engineering
Why do news outlets persistently misrepresent what he actually said? I've read his memo and just about every news article says it contains claims that it doesn't. I have no view on whether he's right or not, but I remain shocked at the misrepresentation of his views throughout the tech media.
After reading the memo and after reading most of the comments here that claim that users also read the memo makes me very afraid on the state of educated people in America.
I cannot believe that most of you still go with the media narrative that Damore claimed "women are worse than man at engineering" while this is a very obvious misrepresentation of what he wrote in order to fill a narrative.
This is all part of a politically driven agenda that destroys everyone trying to question the unique, politically-correct acceptable way of thinking.
And it kills me that smart people in HN are falling for it so easily.
I never really saw too much issue with what he wrote. It seemed a lot of people were mad at him for things he never said. It's been awhile since I read his document, but I remember expecting it to be so bad from all the uproar I was hearing, but after reading it I couldn't find much to be angry about. Can someone enlighten me - i'll admit, this may be a highly ignorant topic of mine.
You need a very minimal amount of social skill to succeed in programming - just enough to not piss coworkers off too badly while working together on projects. Past that, you get mostly quiet and controlled environments, managers willing to let you work on your special interests, and generally get left alone to stare at your screen and type things out. This is one of the best working environments you can find for autistic people. And all these factors that make it so good for autistics makes it more hellish for neurotypicals: you have techies to socialize with who do not like to be interrupted, lots of time expected to be working instead of socializing, and your soft-skills aren't particularly well suited for making the computer do the things you want.
There are something like three to five times as many autistic males than females, depending on the cutoff point and study used. I'm honestly astounded that people are rejecting the biological claim, given how strongly it attracts autistics.
IMHO, a lot of inclusivity-in-tech movements are horrifically ableist for wanting to destroy this niche in the pursuit of making the programming niche more welcoming to other groups. It's about goddamn time there's some push-back against these sorts of gentrifying movements, they're incredibly bad for the work environment interests of autistics.
So, having finally gone through this in detail, what strikes me the most about this as a legal filing is that it seems very unlikely to be certified as a class action. A class action usually required a simple factual mechanism to identify class members; part of the point of a class action is to avoid needing to litigate the details of each individual case.
But instead of identifying a specific, readily identifiable class that is affected, the classes in this suit are defined as any Google employee against whom Google engaged in certain classes of illegal discrimination in California in a given timeframe; this require litigating individual discrimination claims for each potential class member to determine if they are a class member. Since class members have to be identified and given a chance to opt-out before settlement or trial, this is impractical—its what a class action exists to avoid.
Compare to the Microsoft sex discrimination class action, which defined the class as all women employed in defined roles and levels in particular parts of the organization during a given timeframe.
Also, a class lead plaintiff’s claims—not just the law claimed to be violated but the specific manner—are supposed to be typical of the class; while it's very hard to make any guesses of what would be typical of such an ill-defined class, Damore’s case seems to all appearanced to be sui generis. Maybe I'm missing something, but the class action aspect here seems to be either a complete Hail Mary or a ploy for additional media attention.
This clearly is (or is going to be) a Demon Thread. https://www.lesserwrong.com/posts/BZtAavpsy9WtMYgEL/demon-th... . People seem to be angry about what was said in the past, but don't agree on what was actually said or what those things meant. Attempts to clarify seem to mostly be throwing fuel on the fire instead. None of this is helping.
> illegal hiring quotas
Whether or not this is illegal, or true, this is an anti-pattern. If you want representation (and PR) hiring quotas are great; however, if you truly want to empower they work against your goals. At the end of the day any person who walks into a job because of a quota will question, "did I get this job because of my gender/race/creed/orientation?" While you have provided them with opportunity it would be very difficult for that person to fairly evaluate themselves and especially determine whether they are making progress in their career.
Even if James Damore does not win Google has a number of practices that could be considered embarrassing if they were to be made public. I know a number of Googlers who confide to me privately about their experiences. Traditionally they would not have an outlet to express their grievances because no-one really cares. I'm hoping this lawsuit will give them and others a chance leak some of these practices. I'm interested in what people outside of SV tech bubble will think about it.
Why would a "white male conservative" sue a corporation when the conservative platform believes that in a free market corporations should be allowed to discriminate as they please ? I have heard Ron Paul (ok, a libertarian) state numerous times how he doesn't support civil rights, because the public will stop visiting those businesses who engage in discriminatory behavior. Shouldn't James Damore just let the free market take care of Google for its allegedly discriminatory position and wait till we all migrate to Duck Duck Go and iOS to teach Google a lesson ?
presence of Caucasians and males was mocked with ‘boos’ during companywide weekly meetings.
What does this even mean? People booed simply because they were white and male? I honestly don't get it. And who did the booing?
Watching discovery occur on this case will be interesting.
Most of the discussion here focuses on The Famous Document which I think is missing the point. TFD could be totally right, or totally wrong but the lawsuit is about wrongful termination and discrimination and has only remote relevance to the document.
Would be interesting to hear the opinion of the people with legal experience: what are the merits of the lawsuit?
My personal unqualified opinion is that they will settle out of court for wrongful termination. Since white males are not protected class, the discrimination case is much weaker.
It is much easier for Google to settle this lawsuit than to deal with hundreds of others they would get should they kept Damore on payroll.
I think regardless of the merits of TFD this lawsuit is a good thing because companies would be less inclined to punish people for objecting groupthink.
Legal question: Most employment agreements require employees sign an arbitration clause. Even though these have mixed enforceability, they are very intimidating (which I believe is their intended purpose).
If you had a high-profile case like this, are you choosing to defy the arbitration agreement? Anyone ever gone through this and willing to share the process?
Reading through the court document  makes me deeply concerned. Some of the stated actions, if they turn out to be true, are uncomfortable. I believe that in a modern society like ours, such discrimination should not be necessary, advocated for or considered in a healthy workplace. I do hope for Google that none of this is true.
"James Damore, a former Google engineer who was fired in August after posting a memo to an internal Google message board arguing that women may not be equally represented in tech because they are biologically less capable of engineering..."
I have stopped reading TechCrunch, ArsTechnica and Vice magazine because they continually report this inaccurately (at best) if they are not outright lying.
Once again, Damore never says that women are biologically less capable. Nothing like this is every stated nor even implied. In fact he goes out of his way to say this is not so, in the memo. Frustrating.
Whatever you think of the memo, you have to be a little concerned about the precedent this would set if companies were not allowed to discriminate based on 'political' views. Should I be forced to hire a neo-nazi or a terrorist sympathiser so long as they're up to the job?
I find this kind of funny...
The king of search finds it too hard to compile data.
Is there actually any US law against discrimination based on political stance?
It's like if any concept can't be fully realized in the size of a tweet people are going to just misconstrue it.
Read the memo before telling people what it said...
Twitter has eroded out society.
Just for once, I'd like a story like this to turn out positively. Not in that James wins or loses this lawsuit, but that something could be positively gained in his life from this experience.
Being fired from Google has been traumatizing. He's gone farther and farther into the "unrecoverable from a PR standpoint" zone, and that's really horrible. 10 years from now, he's going to have a hard time finding employment or basic living possible. He's still a human though. If he committed himself to being humble and actually trying to work on himself, it would be really positive. Even the PR thing can go away -- everyone loves a redemption story.
The problem is that moves like this just deepen the hole. A lot of people are cheering for his demise, and seeing that hole get bigger is eye candy. But again, he's still a human. He still has hopes, dreams, fears, etc., just like the rest of us. Maybe positive encouragement to change is a better route to go than just watching him keep digging. In no way do I support his ideas -- quite the opposite -- but is it fair to characterize someone as fully a lost cause this early?
The merit (or lack thereof) of his claims and views matter little in this case. The case is visible enough and touches on politically relevant points enough so that there will be tons of people on both sides willing to fund this case all the way to supreme court. Then there is the problem with how damaging discovery would be to the company. It will probably will get settled fast, with Google paying him a few years worth of salary and a non-disclosure clause that will make him never speak publicly about the episode again. Unless the guy gets too greedy and push for too many figures, then it will be a shit storm.
Legitimate question here, how is it ok for all the screenshots of internal tools which the authors must have assumed would remain internal to Google to be put into this publicly visible suit? Their names are visible and not redacted?
Is this just a reminder to be careful what you post at work?
I feel like this study published in july 2017 is very relevant: "Sex differences in brain size and general intelligence (g)"
Abstract Utilizing MRI and cognitive tests data from the Human Connectome project (N = 900), sex differences in general intelligence (g) and molar brain characteristics were examined. Total brain volume, cortical surface area, and white and gray matter correlated 0.1–0.3 with g for both sexes, whereas cortical thickness and gray/white matter ratio showed less consistent associations with g. Males displayed higher scores on most of the brain characteristics, even after correcting for body size, and also scored approximately one fourth of a standard deviation higher on g. Mediation analyses and the Method of Correlated Vectors both indicated that the sex difference in g is mediated by general brain characteristics. Selecting a subsample of males and females who were matched on g further suggest that larger brains, on average, lead to higher g, whereas similar levels of g do not necessarily imply equal brain sizes.
Highlights • Sex differences in brain morphology and general intelligence were examined.
• MRI and test data of the Human connectome project were used (N = 896)
• Males and females differed in total brain size, gray, and white matter volumes
• The male-female difference in general intelligence, g, was d = 0.25.
• Sex differences in brain morphology mediated the sex difference in g.
Are there (in part) biological reasons for the differences in behavior between men and women? Clearly there are sociological differences. Damore clearly did not separate the two ideas or their relative impact on the issue, which led to the enormous amount of publicity.
The idea that the tech industry needs to change their approach to incentivizing women to the workplace still stands regardless.
I think this lawsuit is a sign that Google's management miscalculated. The last thing they wanted was for this issue to drag on. They don't want to be on the front lines of the culture war. They want to build great things and make piles of money.
"...employees of Google who’ve been discriminated against due to their “perceived conservative political views by Google"
Is that really illegal? If someone was not hired on account of his being a White supremacist, would he have any basis for a lawsuit?
The lawsuit says he was discriminated against not only for being a white male but also "discriminated against (i) due to their perceived conservative political views by Google".
Discriminating against someone for their political beliefs is not illegal. Federally political affiliation is not a protected group and in California apparently 'political affiliation' is according to wikipedia however I couldn't find the relevant section of the CA statute on the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) of CA.
If he was discriminated against because of his race or gender, then that is a problem. But firing him for having conservative views should be entirely valid. I am not saying that believe firms SHOULD fire people who have X view or Y view so much as they should have the right to.
While we can debate the merits of James' individual views, let's take a more extreme example. If an individual regularly spouted off white supremacist and neo-NAZI views, I don't think any of us would have a problem with a firm firing that co-worker. Firms are trying to create a culture that aligns with their objectives and enhances employee/workplace happiness and harmony. Some views are antithetical to that.
Furthermore, we can back away from such extreme views and still find cases where it would be legitimate to make decisions based on individual's views and perspectives. If you owned a company focused on selling sustainably sourced, carbon neutral products. Hiring a sales person who does not believe in climate change and is actively hostile the the concept of environmentalism would be a bad idea. It is entirely logical to hire/fire people based on non-religious beliefs.
Beliefs are choices individuals make, and thus they should be judged by their choices.
Why does the right wing embrace Damore instead of being pissed at him?
There are people that might generalize and think all right wing people feel this way about women.
I have right wing friends and know that is not true but others might.
Instead Damore has become some kind of right wing matre which seems really strange.
Just to clarify, is he stating he was fired due to his gender/political views? I would assume the literal army of attorneys will point to various violations of Code of Conduct or Employment Agreement Damore undoubtedly broke.
He openly published a memo condemning his employer, tarnishing the brand and bringing the company under considerable negative press. I figure there must be some clause in any employment agreement stating that you can't actively cause damage to the company.
Edit: Looks like the memo wasn't intentionally released to the public, but it still caused damage. If I drop tables unintentionally on production, I'm not surprised if I'm fired- even if it was an accident.
Are White Men really booed during company meetings?
The most fascinating part of all of this is who thought up making it a social justice issue? Gen up the right wing? Also it is really that easy to manipulate them?
I mean we have an employee who does not work in HR and I do not think a manager working on something that has nothing to do with their job. Something people are fired for everyday.
Then on top is negative no matter how you look at it towards other employees that makes it impossible to keep and have him on a team. Double firable offence and Google would be wrong not have.
Then it is freaking California where the law is in the employer side.
But somehow it has become some weird rally call for the alt right and the abuse of white guys which I am actually am one of.
Someone should write a book. It is just insane how easily some are being manipulated. But there must be something deeper inside that makes it this easy that for some reason I am missing as a white guy.
Why do we have angry white guys? Why not me?
I hope he does not settle as a matter of principle.
I wonder if there should be a court that decides what is ethical and what isn't (according to the prevailing view of the society) as opposed to the current system where all you can do is try to right wrongs or punish actual harms to society.
Will watch this with interest AFAIK discriminating against conservative white men isn’t illegal. It’s not a protected class. There must be some twist here.
Damore's name will now go in the history books along with such luminaries as Allan Bakke, Cheryl Hopwood, and Abigail Fisher.
I wonder how much evidence google has of people who were pissed off by Damore's memo.
Cause really, that's all it should take. "He made his continued employment here impossible because he pissed off his coworkers". Sounds like a completely valid reason to fire me.
He got crucified because he didn't make anybody laugh -- now he will be paraded around as a poster boy for the alt-right or w/e. Aren't autistic traits highly prelevant in programmers? Isn't it also true that those traits will show up much more often in men compared to women -- a token factoid curtesy of wikipedia. Also anecdotally, how many male devs do I know that started hacking at 13 -- a lot. How many women? Personally none, but I know colah from Google Brain is one example, and a rather extreme data point too -- at the extreme end of the scale it's irrelevant anyways, a successful female comp sci prof or a female researcher will be picked. Unless there is some extremely good reason like Google drained all the capable men already out of the ecosystem there doesn't seem to be rational reason to explicitly optimize their hiring pipeline for the wrong demographic -- maybe they don't optimize it like that, but a lot of people have the perception that they do which will get you the same result in the end.
Update: one moment this gets up voted and the next moment it gets down voted and this repeats, is anybody willing to actually argue? Call my bs, I have thick skin.
christ what an asshole.
Going to be great when the Department of Labor comes in and had some conservations with Google and their HR team members.
It's all fun and games until the Labor department starts dropping fines that go up every day till it's fixed and they get execs on the record. Have fun
Go for it.
He will lose, yet again.
This whiney kid is absolute trash.
Enjoy your Labor Department investigation with fines that go up every day of noncompliance.
I'm sure the Trump admin will be totally understanding to the tweets from hiring managers that admitted to breaking labor laws.
I'm sure there are no emails that also break the law. Should be totally fine
There was a thread about this guy some time ago. It was flagged. Not sure why.
> after posting a memo to an internal Google message board
He should really have posted that somewhere else, and maybe with a pseudonym.
I'm no lawyer but I'm willing to bet that although it's illegal to fire someone for his political opinions, it's fine if those opinions are expressed via the company's internal communications channels.
I think the whole story worked in favor of Google.
As a middle aged white male software engineer, this story had made it less likely for me to apply to Google.
Firstly, the odds are against me as I have to do much better than people who would improve their diversity numbers.
Secondly, I can't help but feel that the only reason they want me to interview is to improve their stats by rejecting me.
But I guess it was about time for the tables to turn.
"difference in preferences and abilities" has been characterized by TechCrunch.com as "biologically less capable of engineering." This is not simply an inaccurate representation of Damore's memo, it is a complete smear job. The SJWs can't tolerate anyone, especially a white male, speaking out against their bullshit. I hope Damore wins, and wins big.
Color me not surprised. Institutionally we are casually practicing in discriminatory actions against white men with a rebuttal that 'because you're a white man you have certain privilege' - which conveniently ignores that nobody asks to be born into their body.
It's unfortunate because that is largely not the intention of programs which seek to ensure that women and men of color (I don't include white women because they are largely not 'diverse') have equal opportunity to work and make a living. Instead, these programs have been hijacked by, for lack of a better term, lunatics to push their political agenda instead of genuinely trying to make sure that we find ways to minimize institutional racism and sexism. Have 'white men' abused positions of power to push political agendas? Of course, and we need to call them out on that and drag them out of their offices. But that doesn't excuse other people from performing this same kind of institutional hijacking.
At my organization (Fortune 50) we don't have quotas for women or minorities, but they are definitely metrics that are tracked and optimized for at the highest levels. We attend more women and minority events than others, at least from my vantage point within the organization that performs this work. Largely I don't think we practice discriminatory hiring practices or anything, but the elephant in the room for me is are we hiring under qualified candidates to fill a position that somebody else can do, just because we want to be 'more diverse'? Typically we have to train people once they start the job (which is something I actually advocate for so I don't mind) but if you look at our hiring criteria and who we bring in - they don't line up.
Hopefully we can soon get over this uniquely American mass hysteria about race and just chill the fuck out soon. I'm so sick of it. I couldn't care less about what's between your legs or what color your skin is if you're just a nice person that can do whatever work we're hiring for. Why is that so difficult?
Getting my popcorn ready.
"It aims to represent all employees of Google who’ve been discriminated against due to their “perceived conservative political views by Google,” due to “their male gender by Google” and “due to their Caucasian race by Google."
He should have also added Christians, Trump supporters, or anyone who doesn't bow to the progressive agenda.
As with prior posts on this topic, the comments from all sides are mostly cantankerous, polarised, and entirely unedifying. Suggest you don't waste your time & energy reading, let alone posting an opinion. Flagged.
good! If googly butts were SMARTER than they pretend to be, they'd actually offer him angel funds to start up a completely NEW platform to COMPETE with their frankenstenian perverted still a butt buddy collectivista broken search engine legacy! But then they'd have to go up against the TRULY evil giant bully in the room which is PALANTIR! Bwuahahahahaha. We're gonna gitch ya anyway, no matter WHO you scapegoat you holire than thou fucktards! Good Luck James! Hope you win a tidy sum that easily funds your creativity and passion and that you are able to provide the world with what Google et all promised but sold out to the most evil [wealthy] bidders.
GOOD for you James! Sorry that you have to engage their tactics to get justice or some monetary semblance of it. If the googly buttheadz were as smart as they pretend to be theyd be offering to angel invest in you to create a new platform that'd be the opensourced mega data provider they promised but sold out for "the gods of profits over product integrity!" and as for the buttheads who rape us with their gender insanity,...yeah you read that right! YOURE the problem because you mistake your SEXUALITY with your fn GENDER! You have the right in this country to be as FD up as you wish, but you still dont have the right to Fck up everyone elses rights to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness !! DATS JUST HOW IT WORKS BITCHES!!!!!! [I'm using that term to describe all you wage slaving idiots sucking off the googly corporate rat trap!] because it fits. IF YOU EXCUSE THIS GOOGLE POLICY BECAUSE "MUH PAYCHECK" THEN YOU ARE* THE FUCKING PROBLEM!!!! HYPOCRITES ALL!
I hope he finds some right-wing outlet to hire him, because at this point it seems like he’s radioactive waste and no real company is going to hire him ever again.
And now the boomerang is coming back... But judging by the reactions here i see asking for the right to express complexity isn't always welcome when it comes against the moral values of the day.
(and just to make sure : people should be treated just great even if they're different, meaning they have different abilities somehow, somewhere, and we don't know them all because science isn't advanced enough yet to make any kind of definitive statement).
EDIT : And for those with a great desire of flaming people in public, i suggest tracking people that :
- don't believe climate change is due to human activity
- don't believe public social security should cover every expense
- don't like electric cars, or keep driving SUVs
- have been found watching (racial) porn at the office
- have made any kind of bad joke on any minority
- have made public declaration (at the office cafetaria to his neighbor) supporting any decision by president Trump.
- has bought a gun for his home
- think Google should pay its taxes. Oh no, wait this one is still too controversial.
A fool and his money are soon parted.
thank you hacker news randoms for telling me what my opinion is on james danmore because with my finite and trivial amount of wisdom I cannot possibly be depended on to form my own thoughts of a classic white racist screaming about how oppressed white hetro males are in a social culture shaped by 1000 years of white dominance roll-eyes
As a white male, good for him
Brace in for the brigading. I'm flagging this article because it always results in a bunch of trolling rather than any substantial discussion.