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Google fires engineer over controversial memo, did the company go too far?




The Google logo is reflected in the eye of a girl surfing the internet.
The Google logo is reflected in the eye of a girl surfing the internet.
Chris Jackson/Getty Images

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Google announced Monday that the company fired an engineer over news of a memo displaying gender bias.

The internal memo, “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber,” what the subject of much anger in Silicon Valley because it cited gender stereotypes as causes for the low number of tech positions for women. As reported by the New York Times, the engineer, James Damore, had worked with Google since 2013. Damore defended the memo, saying he hoped it would encourage an “honest discussion” and open the door to ideologies that were not left-leaning. He also claimed to take legal action against the company. Recode reported that the tech giant had been struggling about how to deal with the controversial memo.

Questions about free speech and the culture of discourse within Google were a big part of the hesitation to fire Damore. So should the company have fired Damore? Does Damore have grounds for legal action? And what does this mean for free speech in the workplace?

Guest:

Meghna Virick, director at the school of management at San Jose State University; her research focus includes gender and race related issues in human resource practices such as talent and succession planning