Hey, remember the time less women worked in the tech industry because of their “biological differences”?
No? That’s… that’s not a thing?
Well, someone really should tell that to the male engineer at Google who was just fired by the tech giant after he wrote an internal memo arguing the low number of women in the tech industry was due to their differences in biology and not discrimination.
The memo, titled Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber (you can read the full 10-page document here) caused an uproar in Silicon Valley – and in the non-tech community – last week as it used long-standing gender stereotypes to rationalise why women were less represented in the tech community.
Like the fact women don't want high-stress jobs because they are "more anxious".
The author - James Damore, who has a doctoral degree in systems biology from Harvard University - also argued that women have more "openness directed towards feelings and aesthetics rather than ideas" and this means they prefer jobs in "social or artistic areas".
He also argued that gender diversity in the industry shouldn't be a "goal".
"The distribution of preferences and abilities of men and women differ in part due to biological causes and... these differences may explain why we don't see equal representation of women in tech and leadership," he wrote.
Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai told employees in a note on Monday that portions of the anti-diversity memo "violate our Code of Conduct and cross the line by advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace," according to a copy of the note seen by Reuters.
In other words, for a company that has promoted a culture of diversity and openness, the memo was not a good look.
As a result, Damore, who has worked for Google since 2013, has been fired. In an email to Reuters, he confirmed his dismissal and said he was asked to leave for "perpetuating gender stereotypes".
LISTEN: How to help your daughter get ahead of the gender pay gap early.
The New York Times reports Damore is now looking to puruse legal action, arguing his dismissal was unfair.
"I have a legal right to express my concerns about the terms and conditions of my working environment and to bring up potentially illegal behavior, which is what my document does," Damore said.
It was not immediately clear what legal authority Damore could try to invoke. Non-union or "at will" employees, such as most tech workers, can be fired in the United States for a wide array of reasons that have nothing to do with performance.
Debate over the treatment of women in the male-dominated tech industry has raged for months. Claims of persistent sexual harassment in the ranks of Uber Technologies Inc and of several venture capital firms led to management shakeups.
Management at the largest tech firms, including Google, have publicly committed to diversifying their workforces, although the percentage of women in engineering and management roles remains low at many companies.
The US Department of Labor is currently investigating whether Google has unlawfully paid women less than men. The company has denied the charges.