The National Labor Relations Board has concluded that tech giant Google did not violate any labor laws by firing James Damore.
Bloomberg reports that the National Labor Relations Board concluded last month that no labor laws were violated by Google in their firing of James Damore for his viral viewpoint diversity memo. An associate general counsel for the National Labor Relations Board stated that some of the comments in Damore’s 3,000-word memo “regarding biological differences between the sexes were so harmful, discriminatory, and disruptive” that they did not meet the protections guidelines for collective action in the workplace.
Damore withdrew his complaint in January as his lawyer Harmeet Dhillon stated that they were now focusing on Damore’s lawsuit against Google for discrimination against him and other employees with conservative political views. When Damore was initially fired in August, he accused Google of violating his employee right to engage in “concerted activity” to address issues in the workplace, which includes a number of activities from lawsuits to social media posts. Jayme Sophir, the labor boards attorney, stated that “much of” Damore’s memo was protected under the law, but Google allegedly fired Damore for his “discriminatory statements,” which aren’t protected under labor law.
Sophir wrote that because companies have to comply with equal employment laws, “employers must be permitted to ‘nip in the bud’ the kinds of employee conduct that could lead to a ‘hostile workplace,’ rather than waiting until an actionable hostile workplace has been created before taking action.” Sophir stated that Google “carefully tailored” their message in firing Damore and when speaking to employees afterward, “to affirm their right to engage in protected speech while prohibiting discrimination or harassment.”
William Gould IV, who chaired the board under President Bill Clinton, said that the memo released by the labor board’s lawyer’s conclusion was, “consistent with board precedent for decades, which has viewed speech which creates a hostile environment likely to produce both discord and divisiveness as unprotected.” Gould continued, “In the course of protesting working conditions you can be profane and aggressive and unpleasant, you can be militant, and it’s still protected.” Gould stated that, “What separates this is its derisiveness and stereotypical characterization of one gender.”