A former employee has sued Google for “discrimination, harassment, retaliation and wrongful termination”, alleging that the company fired him over writing pro-diversity internal posts. According to a report in Gizmodo late Wednesday, Tim Chevalier, a software developer and former site-reliability engineer at Google, was fired in November 2017 after he made several internal posts against racism and sexism.
Chevalier had responded to the anti-diversity memo written by James Damore, another employee who was ousted from the company last year for criticising the tech giant for its diversity policy. “Chevalier, who is transgender, queer and disabled, alleges that Google failed to protect its female, minority, and LGBTQ employees from harassment on internal forums… but was quick to crack down on those employees when they spoke out about their experiences with racism, sexism, and homophobia at work,” Gizmodo reported.
In a statement to The Verge, Chevalier said: “It is a cruel irony that Google attempted to justify firing me by claiming that my social networking posts showed bias against my harassers.” In a recent ruling, the US National Labour Relations Board (NLRB) shot down Damorea¿s complaint, saying that Google did not violate labour laws when it fired him.
An NLRB lawyer said Google fired the computer engineer not for expressing dissenting views or criticism, but over “unprotected discriminatory statements” in his memo, which he had posted to internal discussion forums at the tech giant. In his lawsuit filed in a California court, Damore said that Google “ostracised, belittled and punished” him and a fellow plaintiff. Chevalier’s posts were also quoted in Damore’s lawsuit against Google.
According to Google, the company was enforcing its policy against the promotion of harmful stereotypes. “An important part of our culture is lively debate. But like any workplace, that doesn’t mean anything goes. All employees acknowledge our code of conduct and other workplace policies, under which promoting harmful stereotypes based on race or gender is prohibited,” Google spokesperson Gina Scigliano said in a statement.