A Senior Software Engineer at Google wrote an internal memo questioning the assumption of discrimination as the explanation for why women are underrepresented in High Tech (which he defined as Software Engineering).

I noted that questioning the religious orthodoxy of diversity was dangerous to his career, Google Senior Engineer commits diversity heresy:

There is no religious doctrine as unassailable as the claim that differences in achievement in areas where women and/or racial/ethnic minorities are UNDERrepresented is caused by systemic sexism/racism etc.

That religious doctrine, however, never is applied to fields in which women and/or racial/ethnic minorities are OVERrepresented.

The claim that differences in outcome are caused by discrimination drives the “diversity” agenda on campuses and at companies. That one might support diversity as a goal, yet question whether the problem is systemic discrimination and whether MORE discrimination really is the answer, is considered heresy and is punishable by firing, harassment, and on campuses, being shouted down….

While the memo is being regularly described as “anti-diversity,” a plain reading of the document shows that is not accurate. The Senior Engineer does not question diversity as a goal, but does question the explanations given as to why it is not being achieved in High Tech….

… questioning the assumptions underlying diversity initiatives is so dangerous to employment — one stands at risk of being accused of violating company anti-discrimination policies merely by questioning whether there is in fact discrimination. That accusation could be a career ending. Which is why people just shut up.

This memo could be used as a launching point for an open and fact-based discussion of why some group succeed in the Software Engineering field (and some other high tech fields) more than others. If you can’t identify the actual problem, you can’t meaningfully discuss solutions.

I’m guessing that that Google Senior Engineer soon will be a former Google Senior Engineer, will be outed on the internet (he already has been, but I’m not using his name), will be mercilessly harassed and doxxed, and will be driven underground. Because that’s how diversity heretics are treated.

Over the last 24 hours the Senior Engineer was identified on the internet, and there were demands that Google fire him.

Recode reported on a memo from Google CEO that suggested the Senior Engineer has violated Google’s Code of Conduct:

In a memo to employees, CEO Sundar Pichai said the employee who penned a controversial memo that claimed that women had biological issues that prevented them from being as successful as men in tech had violated its Code of Conduct and that the post had crossed “the line by advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace.”

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.”

Pichai’s wording appears to indicate that the employee is likely be fired, which some inside and outside the company have been calling for. A Google spokesperson said the company would not confirm any firing of an individual employee, but others have been let go for violating its Code of Conduct in the past.

Here is the CEO memo to employees provided in the Recode post. To put it in the lingo of the campus, the Senior Engineer was accused by the CEO of Google of violating other employees safe spaces:

From: Sundar

Subject: Our words matter

This has been a very difficult few days. I wanted to provide an update on the memo that was circulated over this past week.

First, let me say that we strongly support the right of Googlers to express themselves, and much of what was in that memo is fair to debate, regardless of whether a vast majority of Googlers disagree with it. However, portions of the memo violate our Code of Conduct and cross the line by advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace. Our job is to build great products for users that make a difference in their lives. 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.”

The memo has clearly impacted our co-workers, some of whom are hurting and feel judged based on their gender. Our co-workers shouldn’t have to worry that each time they open their mouths to speak in a meeting, they have to prove that they are not like the memo states, being “agreeable” rather than “assertive,” showing a “lower stress tolerance,” or being “neurotic.”

At the same time, there are co-workers who are questioning whether they can safely express their views in the workplace (especially those with a minority viewpoint). They too feel under threat, and that is also not OK. People must feel free to express dissent. So to be clear again, many points raised in the memo — such as the portions criticizing Google’s trainings, questioning the role of ideology in the workplace, and debating whether programs for women and underserved groups are sufficiently open to all — are important topics. The author had a right to express their views on those topics — we encourage an environment in which people can do this and it remains our policy to not take action against anyone for prompting these discussions.

The past few days have been very difficult for many at the company, and we need to find a way to debate issues on which we might disagree — while doing so in line with our Code of Conduct. I’d encourage each of you to make an effort over the coming days to reach out to those who might have different perspectives from your own. I will be doing the same.

I have been on work related travel in Africa and Europe the past couple of weeks and had just started my family vacation here this week. I have decided to return tomorrow as clearly there’s a lot more to discuss as a group — including how we create a more inclusive environment for all.

So please join me, along with members of the leadership team at a town hall on Thursday. Check your calendar soon for details.

— Sundar

And sure enough, Google just fired the Senior Engineer.

Bloomberg reports:

Alphabet Inc.’s Google has fired an employee who wrote an internal memo blasting the web company’s diversity policies, creating a firestorm across Silicon Valley.

James Damore, the Google engineer who wrote the note, confirmed his dismissal in an email, saying that he had been fired for “perpetuating gender stereotypes.” A Google representative didn’t immediately return a request for comment.

Google’s Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai sent a note to employees on Monday that said portions of the employee’s memo “violate our Code of Conduct and cross the line by advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace.” But he didn’t say if the company was taking action against the employee.

In a memo to employees, CEO Sundar Pichai said the employee who penned a controversial memo that claimed that women had biological issues that prevented them from being as successful as men in tech had violated its Code of Conduct and that the post had crossed “the line by advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace.”

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.”

Pichai’s wording appears to indicate that the employee is likely be fired, which some inside and outside the company have been calling for. A Google spokesperson said the company would not confirm any firing of an individual employee, but others have been let go for violating its Code of Conduct in the past.

This is a pretty chilling development. It completely proves the Senior Engineers point about the shaming and shut-down culture that surrounds discussions of discrimination and diversity.

[This post was updated multiple times]