California, August11:Alphabet's Google canceled on Thursday a company-wide meeting scheduled to discuss the controversy over a memo opposing diversity policies, the company said, citing concerns about personal attacks on employees from far-right commentators.
The names of some of employees that had proposed to ask questions during the meeting had been leaked outside the company, a spokesperson confirmed to the Wall Street Journal, though they had not been posted online.
Though one might argue for a right to free speech, however unpopular, such protections are generally limited to government and other public employees - and to unionized workers with rights to disciplinary hearings before any firing. "I certainly couldn't assign any women to deal with this, a good number of the people you might have to work with may simply punch you in the face". Since then, some on the right have embraced Damore as a victim of Silicon Valley liberal groupthink.
Earlier this week, a technology website published an internal memo written by a Google employee called James Damore criticising the company's efforts to diversify its workforce. "There are always going to be differences in salary based on location, role and performance, but the process is blind to gender", the report quoted a Google spokesperson as saying.
Pichai explained the memo crossed the line by suggesting "a group of our colleagues have traits that make them less biologically suited to [technical] work is contrary to Google's basic values and to the Code Conduct". "We'll continue to stand for that and be committed to it for the long haul".
Lately, Google has been experiencing a hard time keeping up with gender diversity.
The town hall was meant to hear out employee grievances over a flare-up that has consumed Google for much of the week. The top ones involved how the company was dealing with employees being harassed for speaking out against Mr. Damore's memo. Indeed, to build effective teams, companies must embrace a variety of different views, including from those who acutely feel the loss of privilege as the culture and composition of a company changes.
Google is now under investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor over claims it did not fairly pay some female employees.
Sources inside Google said some employees had begun to experience "doxxing" - online harassment that can take various forms and is defined as "searching for and publishing private or identifying information about [a particular individual] on the internet, typically with malicious intent".
"I value diversity and inclusion, am not denying that sexism exists, and don't endorse using stereotypes". "When addressing the gap in representation in the population, we need to look at population level differences in distributions". Pichai then wanted to hold a public meeting for a "frank, open discussion", which under these circumstances would have nearly certainly produced the kind of frank and open discussions that emperors used to get when they held court.
Damore's memo, leaked to the press last weekend, also criticized Google's "left bias" and "ideological chamber".