Google engineer's lawsuit says liberal views got him fired

The lawsuit follows a suit filed last month by James Damore, author of the infamous “Google Memo.”

Richard Nieva Former senior reporter
Richard Nieva was a senior reporter for CNET News, focusing on Google and Yahoo. He previously worked for PandoDaily and Fortune Magazine, and his writing has appeared in The New York Times, on CNNMoney.com and on CJR.org.
Richard Nieva
2 min read

Another fired Google employee is suing the company. 

Claudia Cruz/CNET

Google has another lawsuit related to diversity on its hands.

The search giant is being sued for discrimination, harassment, retaliation and wrongful termination by a fired engineer named Tim Chevalier. The complaint was filed Wednesday in San Francisco County Superior Court. 

The lawsuit was reported earlier by Gizmodo.

The suit comes on the heels of a suit filed last month by James Damore, a Google engineer who was fired after circulating a now infamous 33,000-word memo about diversity at the company. The lawsuit claimed Google discriminates against white men and conservatives.

In the lawsuit filed Wednesday, Chevalier, who is disabled and transgender, said Google fired him because of posts related to diversity he made on Google's internal messaging forums, as well as its Google+ social network. The lawsuit says Chevalier posted content on the forums that pushed back against online bullying directed toward people of color and those in the LGBT community. One post in question criticized Damore's memo, calling it "misogynistic."

"It is a cruel irony that Google attempted to justify firing me by claiming that my social networking posts showed bias against my harassers," Chevalier said in a statement. "The anti-discrimination laws are meant to protect marginalized and underrepresented groups -- not those who attack them."

The suit comes as Google grapples with controversies regarding diversity, race and gender. Damore's memo, which became public last August, argued that a gender gap exists not because of sexism, but partly because of "biological" differences between men and women. Shortly after the memo began to make national headlines, he was fired by Google CEO Sundar Pichai.

Last week, the US National Labor Relations Board said Google didn't break the law when it fired Damore. The agency said Google fired the computer engineer not for expressing dissenting views or criticism, but over "unprotected discriminatory statements" in his memo.

Wednesday's lawsuit is another window into the internal of workings of Google's culture.

"An important part of our culture is lively debate," a Google spokeswoman said in a statement. "But like any workplace, that doesn't mean anything goes. All employees acknowledge our code of conduct and other workplace policies, under which promoting harmful stereotypes based on race or gender is prohibited. 

"This is a very standard expectation that most employers have of their employees. The overwhelming majority of our employees communicate in a way that is consistent with our policies. But when an employee does not, it is something we must take seriously. We always make our decision without any regard to the employee's political views."

Chevalier worked at Google from December 2015 to November 2017 as a site reliability engineer. The lawsuit seeks damages for lost wages, emotional distress and punitive damages.

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