Google’s not responsible for firing James Damore for writing a 10-page sexist rant. James Damore is.
On Saturday, August 5, a 10-page memo/manifesto titled “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber” (and yes, I read it – the few good points were far outweighed by the many, many bad ones) was distributed inside Google. The memo is a sexist rant that falsely claims that women are underrepresented in engineering and tech due to inherent biological and psychological factors, instead of sexism or cultural factors such as how women are told as children they’re bad at math and science. The public learned that the author was one James Damore when Google fired him on Monday, two days later, for violating Google’s Code of Conduct and “advancing harmful gender stereotypes.”
Good. Google was right to do so.
Damore’s rant basically told the entire company that he didn’t think that his female coworkers were as good as him. Worse than that, Damore essentially told his female coworkers that he didn’t respect them. He told them that they have lower IQs than their male colleagues. He told them that they were neurotic. He told them that their own eyes were lying to them when they looked at their paychecks (and that, presumably because of their lower IQs, they were too stupid to realize they weren’t actually doing the same job as their male peers).
Damore’s rant created a hostile work environment for any woman who had to work with Damore. That fact opened Google up to legal liability for keeping him on staff. I doubt there’s a publicly-traded company out there with a marginally competent HR department who would have kept Damore on staff after he clicked “send.” And I suspect that Damore will have a hell of time finding new employment too. I sure as hell wouldn’t work with him, and I’m a cis white male.
Ultimately, Damore’s firing is on his own head, not Google’s. He wrote the rant in the first place, and he clicked “send” of his own free will. So now he gets to face the consequences of doing so.
If Damore wasn’t OK with possibly being fired for this, he shouldn’t have written the rant in the first place.