Google Fires Diversity Memo Author

A Google employee who wrote a controversial memo about workplace diversity has been fired,
the BBC can confirm.

The controversial memo broke the firm’s code of conduct, Google’s chief executive Sundar Pichai said on Monday in an email to employees. The memo, shared widely at the weekend, suggested there were fewer women at Google due to biological differences. Mr Pichai said the text crossed the line due to it “advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace”.

Entitled Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber, the paper argued that “the abilities of men and
women differ in part due to biological causes and that these differences may explain why we
don’t see equal representation of women in tech and leadership”. The author wrote: “We need to
stop assuming that gender gaps imply sexism.”

The memo was quickly criticised by Google’s head of diversity, Danielle Brown, but the author –
whose identity has not been revealed by Google – later wrote that he had received “many
personal messages from fellow Googlers expressing their gratitude”.

Comments “not ok”

In his note to staff sent on Monday afternoon, Mr Pichai spoke at length about protecting free
speech in Google’s ranks, and that “much of what was in that memo is fair to debate, regardless
of whether a vast majority of Googlers disagree with it”. But he added: “To suggest a group of
our colleagues have traits that make them less biologically suited to that work is offensive and
not OK. “It is contrary to our basic values and our Code of Conduct, which expects ‘each
Googler to do their utmost to create a workplace culture that is free of harassment, intimidation,
bias and unlawful discrimination’.”

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