- Employees at Google who express “conservative viewpoints in politically-charged debates” may find themselves blacklisted by managers at the company, alleges an explosive new lawsuit.
- And by blacklisted, that means their names may appear on actual lists, the suit contends.
- Google employees who identify as conservative say they have complained to HR and senior management about the blacklists.
- These allegations are part of a lawsuit filed on behalf of fired Google engineer James Damore that seeks to represent white males and conservatives who feel like they have been the target of discrimination.
A well-known Republican San Francisco lawyer has filed a lawsuit against Google seeking to represent white, male or conservative employees who believe the company has discriminated against them.
The lawyer is Harmeet Dhillon, a partner with the Dhillon Law Group in San Francisco and the former chairwoman of the Republican Party in San Francisco.
She has been on the hunt for such victims since she took on fired Google engineer James Damore as a client in August. And on Monday she presented the first fruits of her research in a 161-page complaint that’s chock full of allegations and screenshots.
The most jaw-dropping allegation is that “Google publicly endorsed blacklists” of conservatives. The lawsuit claims that several hiring managers publicly vowed not to hire people categorized as “hostile voices”, or conservatives.
For instance, one manager wrote on one internal forum, “I will never, ever hire/transfer you onto my team. Ever.”
Another manager wrote in another, “I keep a written blacklist of people whom I will never allow on or near my team, based on how they view and treat their coworkers. That blacklist got a little longer today.”
The lawsuit cites another post from another hiring manager that said, “If you express a dunderheaded opinion about religion, about politics, or about ‘social justice’, it turns out I am allowed to think you’re a halfwit… I’m perfectly within my rights to mentally categorise you in my [d*ckhead] box… Yes, I maintain (mentally, and not (yet) publicly).”
Interestingly, the lawsuit doesn’t show the statements that provoked such strong reactions from these managers. It only characterises them as “tactfully expressed conservative viewpoints in politically-charged debates.”
Whether expressing anti-diversity sentiments at a workplace is a protected “conservative viewpoint” or, rather, a form of bigotry that actually creates a hostile environment is at the heart of the case – and it reflects a broader debate gripping the country under the divisive presidency of Donald Trump.
“Something resembling a trial”
The lawsuit shows that in at least one case, a manager (a white woman), was contemplating keeping some kind of actual, public list of employee names.
The manager wrote on an internal post, “I am thinking of something like a google doc that accepts comments, and which calls out those googlers that are unsupportive of diversity,” she wrote.
She wondered, in the post, whether special “trials” should be held for employees nominated for the list, to determine whether they belonged on it or not.
The lawsuit shows her post as evidence:
The lawsuit names other instances, too. It says that conservative employees reported such lists or other attempts to block them and their comments on Google’s internal social media sites to HR who told them that employees have the right to block others or make statements about the type of employees they liked to work with.
The lawsuit says that conservative employees on two occassions in the fall of 2017, also brought the matter of such lists up with Paul Manwell, Google CEO Sundar Pichai’s chief of staff, and to senior lawyer Kent Walker.
This lawsuit was filed on behalf of Damore, the engineer who created a firestorm last summer with his memo about women in tech and his comments about how Google treats conservatives. It seeks class-action status to represent other white or male or conservatives employees who believe they faced discrimination at Google.
A Google spokesperson says the company is ready to fight this lawsuit, telling us. “We look forward to defending against Mr. Damore’s lawsuit in court.”
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