San Francisco, United States | AFP | Google on Monday fired the author of an internal memo defending the gender-gap in Silicon Valley tech jobs as a matter of biology, according to media reports.
The move, which was not officially confirmed by Google, splashed fuel on a burning controversy about whether “political correctness” at the company was stifling free speech.
Google told AFP that the company “can’t comment on individual employee cases.”
In an email to employees, Google chief executive Sundar Pichai supported the right of employees to express themselves, saying that much of what was in the memo is fair to debate, according to a copy of the message obtained by AFP.
“However, portions of the memo violate our Code of Conduct and cross the line by advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace,” Pichai said in the email.
“To suggest a group of our colleagues have traits that make them less biologically suited to that work is offensive and not OK.”
Pichai noted that the company code of conduct calls for ‘Googlers’ to do their utmost to create “a culture free of harassment, intimidation, bias and unlawful discrimination.”
However, Pichai defended the author’s right to criticize Google training, workplace ideology, and whether programs promoting workplace diversity are adequately open to all.
“The author had a right to express their views on those topics,” Pichai said.
“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.”
Recode, Bloomberg and other media outlets on Monday reported that the author of the controversial internal document was fired.