Google May Be In Trouble For Firing James Damore

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Google May Be In Trouble For Firing James Damore

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Wed Aug 09, 2017 6:15 pm

https://yro.slashdot.org/story/17/08/08 ... lashdot%29

"Whether Demore is right or wrong, whether one agrees with him or not, Google may have legal trouble for firing him. Employees are protected by federal law when they discuss working conditions with other employees (and this was an internal memo). His memo could be considered whistleblowing, which is also protected (and it is very clear that he was fired as retribution). And, in California, political opinions are protected in the work place as well. Just because one side is wrong doesn't mean the other side is right."

////// I need to brush up on my employee rights. I almost posted on Nikki Nyx's excellent thread "Our brains are gendered" that Damore should have expected to be fired for such a memo.......hmmm...IIRC, I said something very close? Well.........lawsuits aren't fun.....even if you win.........and the odds for even righteous cases, which this looks like one of, are stacked against employees.

Groups are Groups.

Individuals are Individuals.

Simple concept..................the violation of which is the source of much harm in our society/history/outlook.
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Re: Google May Be In Trouble For Firing James Damore

Postby Gord » Wed Aug 09, 2017 9:39 pm

http://www.salon.com/2017/08/09/fired-g ... nterviews/

...But what got him fired were the parts where Demore drifts into defining biological and psychological differences between men and women, offering up such nuggets of wisdom as “women, on average, have more . . . neuroticism,” that “women on average show a higher interest in people and men in things” and that women are inherently more likely to be “agreeable” and less “assertive.”

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-goog ... SKBN1AO1WY

...Josh Reeves, chief executive at Gusto, a software company, said he expected the topic would come up at its all-staff meeting on Wednesday.

Gusto's code of conduct "specifically prohibits a memo like Damore's," Reeves said, if the memo would be offensive to individuals in a protected group.

Damore, who could not be reached for comment on Tuesday, said in an email to Reuters on Monday that he was exploring a possible legal challenge to his dismissal.

His case would likely be weak, employment lawyers said, and some lawyers said Google could have faced lawsuits if it had not acted against him....

...U.S. companies have broad latitude to restrict the speech of employees in private workplaces, where First Amendment protections against government censorship do not apply....
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Re: Google May Be In Trouble For Firing James Damore

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Wed Aug 09, 2017 9:49 pm

some lawyers say yes........others say no. Can you figure out why that is?

Old story about a one lawyer town going broke. He got really upset on seeing another lawyer move into town and set up shop: "There isn't enough business for me." //// Turns out, both practices bloomed and each became rich and retired 20 years later.

I got the impression the laws in California were more pro-speech/employee than in the rest of the country.

........................... Lots of variables.
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Re: Google May Be In Trouble For Firing James Damore

Postby OlegTheBatty » Wed Aug 09, 2017 10:08 pm

It's not a speech issue. The question is whether or not he can be a team player while writing manifestos that are offensive to many in his group; and I don't mean only those who are targeted. His employer could easily argue that such a manifesto would make it impossible for the team he was part of to function cohesively while he was there.
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Re: Google May Be In Trouble For Firing James Damore

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Wed Aug 09, 2017 10:48 pm

There is an active thread on ADHD. THE FIRST FRICKING SENTENCE OF THE OP IS: "Whether Demore is right or wrong, whether one agrees with him or not, Google may have legal trouble for firing him." Goes on thereafter about "Its a Speech Issue."

Posting in complete non-recognition of what the Op is all about..............well............. "ok." What are you looking for? A simple kneejerk disagreement?

Here goes: "No.... you're wrong."
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Re: Google May Be In Trouble For Firing James Damore

Postby Nikki Nyx » Wed Aug 09, 2017 11:56 pm

Having read Damore's swan song, I'd like to weigh in on this as both a skeptic and a woman. I'm sure Damore believes he's written a thoughtful, well-researched, properly sourced essay. But in reading it, I found his ideas immature and his research cherry-picked.

Among his ideas was the belief that there are universal truths about gender across cultures and throughout history, which is provably untrue. He also listed his conception of the biases of the left and right, and they are stereotypical. Of the six listed for leftists, three are not applicable to me. (I don't consider humans to be inherently cooperative, I'm not an idealist, and I don't automatically consider change to be good.) And he characterizes affirmative action thusly:
Extreme: all disparities in representation are due to oppression
Authoritarian: we should discriminate to correct for this oppression
...which implies that members of majority groups are being discriminated against to make room for less qualified members of marginalized groups. Check your privilege, white boy.

That having been said, Damore's mistake was not in holding these opinions; he's free to believe whatever he likes. But he's a special kind of stupid for sounding off about the politics and policies of his employer to his fellow employees and while at work. If he wished to object to particular policies, the most he should have done was have a chat with his immediate superior, or with personnel. Because regardless of what many Americans believe, no one has freedom of speech at work, and being shut down in the workplace is not censorship.

Lastly, Damore's manifesto reads like the whining of someone who has accorded himself the status of victim in the absence of oppression, the number one symptom of Special Snowflake Syndrome*. Whether he has a legal leg to stand on regarding his employment being terminated largely depends upon his employment contract, Google's employees' handbook, and labor law.

*the unfortunate inability to stop oneself from behaving stupidly when one feels one isn't getting enough attention
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Re: Google May Be In Trouble For Firing James Damore

Postby Cadmusteeth » Thu Aug 10, 2017 2:30 am

Found this little dealy while on the web: https://medium.com/@yonatanzunger/so-ab ... 3773ed1788
Here's an excerpt:
You have probably heard about the manifesto a Googler (not someone senior) published internally about, essentially, how women and men are intrinsically different and we should stop trying to make it possible for women to be engineers, it’s just not worth it.
Until about a week ago, you would have heard very little from me publicly about this, because (as a fairly senior Googler) my job would have been to deal with it internally, and confidentiality rules would have prevented me from saying much in public.
But as it happens, (although this wasn’t the way I was planning on announcing it) I actually recently left Google — for entirely unrelated and actually really-good-news reasons which you can read about here. So when all of this broke, I was just as much on the outside as everyone else, and I know what was written in this only because it leaked and was published by Gizmodo.
And since I’m no longer on the inside, and have no confidential information about any of this, the thing which I would have posted internally I’ll instead say right here, because it’s relevant not just to Google, but to everyone else in tech.
So it seems that someone has seen fit to publish an internal manifesto about gender and our “ideological echo chamber.” I think it’s important that we make a couple of points clear.
(1) Despite speaking very authoritatively, the author does not appear to understand gender.
(2) Perhaps more interestingly, the author does not appear to understand engineering.
(3) And most seriously, the author does not appear to understand the consequences of what he wrote, either for others or himself..

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Re: Google May Be In Trouble For Firing James Damore

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Thu Aug 10, 2017 3:06 am

Nikki: I could have written what you post. I am in complete agreement. BUT that is why I posted the OP and why I said I had to brush up on my employment law.

Again: the first sentence of the OP.

Reality: something we don't always agree with.......but its still there. Eg: "The Law........is an ass." I haven't and won't "study" the issue but from the quick read of the synopsis, two keys are here: specific CALIFORNIA LAW.....and the memo was private.

People appear to be unable to deal with realities they disagree with. IOW: as the first sentence says: it doesn't matter if Damore is right or wrong or if you agree with him or not. To post about him being right or wrong or that you agree with him or not.............is very much NOT THE POINT.

Lets see if anyone will give us a third strike?..... or if the subject or myself has pissed everyone off?
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Re: Google May Be In Trouble For Firing James Damore

Postby xouper » Thu Aug 10, 2017 4:23 am

Just a minor quibble about semantics (because, you know, it's the interwebs where I get to run my mouth if I want :twisted: ):

Nikki Nyx wrote:. . . Because regardless of what many Americans believe, no one has freedom of speech at work, and being shut down in the workplace is not censorship.


Here's my (minor and pedantic) semantic quibble about the word "censorship".

Even though the law does not prohibit private employers from infringing freedom of speech of employees, as you correctly observed, that still falls under the general definition of the word "censorship".

[/quibble]

I confess, this quibble has zilch to do with the main ideas you were expressing.



And now back to the regularly scheduled program . . .

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Re: Google May Be In Trouble For Firing James Damore

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Thu Aug 10, 2017 4:36 am

I enjoy a good quibble....so thanks.

You are right. It is censorship, its not a violation of rights.

Edit: Oops....except maybe in California.

Edit x2: Its not a violation of Federal Constitutional Rights.
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Re: Google May Be In Trouble For Firing James Damore

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Thu Aug 10, 2017 4:52 am

For Grins:

Censorship:

2. Deleting parts of publications, correspondence or theatrical performances //fits.

1, Counterintelligence achieved by banning or deleting any information of value to the enemy /// Ha, ha..... and the enemy here would be..................
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Re: Google May Be In Trouble For Firing James Damore

Postby Nikki Nyx » Fri Aug 11, 2017 5:07 pm

xouper wrote:Just a minor quibble about semantics (because, you know, it's the interwebs where I get to run my mouth if I want :twisted: ):

Nikki Nyx wrote:. . . Because regardless of what many Americans believe, no one has freedom of speech at work, and being shut down in the workplace is not censorship.


Here's my (minor and pedantic) semantic quibble about the word "censorship".

Even though the law does not prohibit private employers from infringing freedom of speech of employees, as you correctly observed, that still falls under the general definition of the word "censorship".

[/quibble]

I confess, this quibble has zilch to do with the main ideas you were expressing.



And now back to the regularly scheduled program . . .
Yes, I agree with your quibble. In the context of my thought, it is not a violation of First Amendment rights, but it is censorship. Generally, it is legal censorship; one's employee is entitled, within limitations, to curtail one's speech.
What are the facts? Again and again and again-what are the facts? Shun wishful thinking, ignore divine revelation, forget what “the stars foretell,” avoid opinion, care not what the neighbors think, never mind the unguessable “verdict of history”--what are the facts, and to how many decimal places? You pilot always into an unknown future; facts are your single clue. Get the facts!
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Re: Google May Be In Trouble For Firing James Damore

Postby Nikki Nyx » Fri Aug 11, 2017 5:18 pm

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:Nikki: I could have written what you post. I am in complete agreement. BUT that is why I posted the OP and why I said I had to brush up on my employment law.

Again: the first sentence of the OP.

Reality: something we don't always agree with.......but its still there. Eg: "The Law........is an ass." I haven't and won't "study" the issue but from the quick read of the synopsis, two keys are here: specific CALIFORNIA LAW.....and the memo was private.

People appear to be unable to deal with realities they disagree with. IOW: as the first sentence says: it doesn't matter if Damore is right or wrong or if you agree with him or not. To post about him being right or wrong or that you agree with him or not.............is very much NOT THE POINT.

Lets see if anyone will give us a third strike?..... or if the subject or myself has pissed everyone off?
Exactly. The issue is whether his action violated his employment contract with Google, and whether Google was within their legal rights to terminate his employment. Without having his employment contract in hand, as well as both federal and Cali employment law, we really can't come to a conclusion.

If the employment contract specifies adherence to an employee handbook, and that handbook sets out rules for speech about groups within the employment population and the proper method for airing grievances about company policy (as well as punitive measures the company would take in such cases), then Google is probably within its rights. Damore made a number of degrading remarks about women and minorities, and excoriated company policy.

I had a union contract; punitive measures were clearly laid out: verbal warning, letter of warning, 7-day suspension, 14-day suspension, termination. Each measure could be grieved through the union at the local (step 1), regional (step 2), and national (step 3) level. Most were settled at the local level, as step 2 and 3 grievances were precedent-setting.
What are the facts? Again and again and again-what are the facts? Shun wishful thinking, ignore divine revelation, forget what “the stars foretell,” avoid opinion, care not what the neighbors think, never mind the unguessable “verdict of history”--what are the facts, and to how many decimal places? You pilot always into an unknown future; facts are your single clue. Get the facts!
—Lazarus Long, from Time Enough for Love, by Robert A. Heinlein

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Re: Google May Be In Trouble For Firing James Damore

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Fri Aug 11, 2017 5:46 pm

Google is probably NOT within its rights if the statement of the issues in the OP is anywhere near right.

California + Internal memo. Federal Law and US Const: not that relevant.

Like I said: hard to get unstuck?
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Re: Google May Be In Trouble For Firing James Damore

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Fri Aug 11, 2017 10:49 pm

"Google CEO to girls: You belong in this industry and we need you.........."

Ha, ha.................they couldn't find a girl to give the speech. Had to get the man to cancel his vacation and come back to save the Google.

https://phys.org/news/2017-08-google-ce ... ustry.html
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Re: Google May Be In Trouble For Firing James Damore

Postby Nikki Nyx » Sat Aug 12, 2017 6:30 pm

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:Google is probably NOT within its rights if the statement of the issues in the OP is anywhere near right.

California + Internal memo. Federal Law and US Const: not that relevant.

Like I said: hard to get unstuck?

It depends on how a Cali judge is likely to interpret the tone of Damore's memo.
Employees are protected by federal law when they discuss working conditions with other employees (and this was an internal memo).
Damore didn't confine his subject matter to "working conditions." Further, none of the work matters on which he spoke affected him personally; he spoke specifically to matters involving marginalized groups, of which he is not a protected member, and against affirmative action.

His memo could be considered whistleblowing, which is also protected (and it is very clear that he was fired as retribution).
Since Google wasn't doing anything illegal, Damore's memo cannot be considered "whistleblowing." This is just ridiculous.

And, in California, political opinions are protected in the work place as well. Just because one side is wrong doesn't mean the other side is right.
A political opinion is one thing, but Damore's memo could easily be construed as including both misogyny and racism, neither of which is a "political opinion."

California is an "at will" state, which complicates the matter. Unless Damore can prove that Google violated his employment contract, if he had one, or fired him for an illegal reason, he's SOL. But the burden of proof is on Damore.
What are the facts? Again and again and again-what are the facts? Shun wishful thinking, ignore divine revelation, forget what “the stars foretell,” avoid opinion, care not what the neighbors think, never mind the unguessable “verdict of history”--what are the facts, and to how many decimal places? You pilot always into an unknown future; facts are your single clue. Get the facts!
—Lazarus Long, from Time Enough for Love, by Robert A. Heinlein

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Re: Google May Be In Trouble For Firing James Damore

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Sat Aug 12, 2017 7:19 pm

whistleblowing: non legal/non California legal general dictionary: Exposure to the public or the authorities of wrongdoing by an organization, usually by an employee; reporting of wrongdoing within part of an organization to senior management, often confidentially /// Doesn't have to be illegal. Wrongdoing is very much broader like not fulfilling the mission statement ...etc. /// Of course....every term used should be cross checked with California specific law.....NOT general philosophy or Federal Codes. I'm happy to wait and let the case stew.

At will: obviously not or irrelevant to the OP issues? At will: "Can be fired for any reason or no reason at all...........BUT NOT FOR ILLEGAL REASONS. The whole point of the dispute.

All opinions are political.

Tone? /// That Trio used to live on the same block as my good friend in China Hills. Nice "sound" but doesn't mean a thing. Internal/private/protected.....supposedly.
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Re: Google May Be In Trouble For Firing James Damore

Postby Nikki Nyx » Sat Aug 12, 2017 8:00 pm

What was the alleged wrongdoing that Damore exposed? Since he did not make his memo public or address it specifically to company authorities or senior management, he's have a tough time making a whistleblower case.

Same issue for the "at will" argument. Damore would have to prove Google fired him for illegal reasons. I think he'd have a tough time with that one too.

Subjectively, all opinions may be "political," but that doesn't speak to how California labor law defines "political speech in the workplace."
What are the facts? Again and again and again-what are the facts? Shun wishful thinking, ignore divine revelation, forget what “the stars foretell,” avoid opinion, care not what the neighbors think, never mind the unguessable “verdict of history”--what are the facts, and to how many decimal places? You pilot always into an unknown future; facts are your single clue. Get the facts!
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Re: Google May Be In Trouble For Firing James Damore

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Sat Aug 12, 2017 8:23 pm

Nikki Nyx wrote:What was the alleged wrongdoing that Damore exposed? Since he did not make his memo public or address it specifically to company authorities or senior management, he's have a tough time making a whistleblower case.
The non legal definition quoted I think is in agreement with most legal statutues: the whistleblowing includes non-Public totally private internal communications.

Nikki Nyx wrote: Same issue for the "at will" argument. Damore would have to prove Google fired him for illegal reasons. I think he'd have a tough time with that one too."
Ha, ha....isn't Google ON RECORD that they fired him for his private whistleblowing memo? Further proof not required.

Nikki Nyx wrote: Subjectively, all opinions may be "political," but that doesn't speak to how California labor law defines "political speech in the workplace."
I agree. One of the several issues actually on point.

Ha, ha.........hard to discuss the legal issues when none of us know what they are.............IE: specific CALIFORNIA statutes and case law interpretations. I do assume the writer had valid purpose in expressing the issues the way he did? "Regardless of what you think............."
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Re: Google May Be In Trouble For Firing James Damore

Postby OlegTheBatty » Sat Aug 12, 2017 8:31 pm

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:. I do assume the writer had valid purpose


And that would be what? Putting women in their place?
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Re: Google May Be In Trouble For Firing James Damore

Postby Nikki Nyx » Sat Aug 12, 2017 8:39 pm

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:
Nikki Nyx wrote:What was the alleged wrongdoing that Damore exposed? Since he did not make his memo public or address it specifically to company authorities or senior management, he's have a tough time making a whistleblower case.
The non legal definition quoted I think is in agreement with most legal statutues: the whistleblowing includes non-Public totally private internal communications.
It's not whistleblowing if there is no wrongdoing by the company.

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:
Nikki Nyx wrote: Same issue for the "at will" argument. Damore would have to prove Google fired him for illegal reasons. I think he'd have a tough time with that one too."
Ha, ha....isn't Google ON RECORD that they fired him for his private whistleblowing memo? Further proof not required.
I don't know whether Google is officially on record as having made that statement...or whether someone who works at Google merely made an offhand comment, not as an official representative. Further, admission is irrelevant unless a crime has actually been committed. If I kill an intruder in my home in a clear cut case of self-defense, then happen to say, "I murdered him," my statement is not proof of guilt of the crime of murder.

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:
Nikki Nyx wrote: Subjectively, all opinions may be "political," but that doesn't speak to how California labor law defines "political speech in the workplace."
I agree. One of the several issues actually on point.
Precedent is also relevant here.

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:Ha, ha.........hard to discuss the legal issues when none of us know what they are.............IE: specific CALIFORNIA statutes and case law interpretations. I do assume the writer had valid purpose in expressing the issues the way he did? "Regardless of what you think............."
I assume nothing about internet writers unless I know whether their background matches the topic about which they're writing, whether they have an axe to grind, and who funds the site on which the article they wrote appears. Anyone can post anything on the internet...and everyone does.
What are the facts? Again and again and again-what are the facts? Shun wishful thinking, ignore divine revelation, forget what “the stars foretell,” avoid opinion, care not what the neighbors think, never mind the unguessable “verdict of history”--what are the facts, and to how many decimal places? You pilot always into an unknown future; facts are your single clue. Get the facts!
—Lazarus Long, from Time Enough for Love, by Robert A. Heinlein


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