This is only my opinion, and not the representation of Saintel Daily, LLC.
James Damore says he was vilified and harassed for questioning what he describes as Google’s liberal political orthodoxy, especially when it comes to the merits of diversity. You might remember James Damore as having released a memo to Google employees, which, in a nutshell, said that women aren’t as “good” as men. Damore says that he merely questioned the liberal views of the corporation. It felt like it was more than that, but that is merely my opinion. Further, current conservative employees at Google are filing complaints with their HR department in attempts to shut down conversations about diversity.
It’s suspected that conservatives at Google are engaging in conversations about diversity and then complaining to HR that the comments from their colleagues are offensive to white men and/or conservatives. What they’re doing is actually using Google’s own HR policies in order to prove a point. In fact, it’s believed that some employees (more conservative) have goaded other employees into inflammatory statements, which are then captured and reported to HR as a violation of the policies. In this case, the people getting offended are white men.
I can’t even begin to explain how cringe-worthy this is. These policies are usually put in place to protect people from being targeted due to their race. And let’s be honest, when are white people being targeted for the color of their skin? There are certain racial groups that are historically targeted at a higher rate. And more consistently. White people don’t fall into that category, so I’m unsure how they are making the argument that they are being vilified? Or even discriminated.
But it gets worse. People who work at Google are being targeted because of their race, or gender by these more conservative employees. In some instances, people have been identified as having transitioned in terms of their gender. Their names, social media accounts, phone numbers, and addresses are being exposed. How is this happening, Google? And why aren’t you doing more to stop it? A Google employee – Liz Fong-Jones, who is a transgendered woman, says that she was the target of harassment. Which included violent threats and degrading slurs which focused on her gender identity, race, and sexual orientation. All of which is no one’s business. And yet, here we are.
Google has an interesting workplace culture. Which may be contributing to some of this. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s being taken to the extreme, but employees are encouraged to be themselves at work. Part of this includes exchanging views on internal discussion boards. But given today’s political climate, I’m not sure how that is even possible. I can’t even have conversations with family members about politics without getting into it. How does Google expect people to not have opinions about the current administration?
Aneeta Rattan, who is an assistant professor of behavior at the London School of Business has an interesting suggestion for Google. In order to foster an open environment where everyone is accepted, they have to establish norms and rules of engagement. She says maybe they don’t want to have a laundry list of things that you can’t say, but they should be identifying parameters.
And Google isn’t the only one who operates under this kind of model. Many technology companies think in these terms. Which, in itself, isn’t a bad idea. But it’s hard to work in this kind of culture if there aren’t parameters. Also, can you force someone to be accepting of someone else’s race or culture? The lefty in me wants to say yes, but I did use the word “force”. I think the key is to promote a culture of inclusion. Emphasize that differences make the corporation stronger. I’m not sold that this is going to get any better at Google, so I’m very interested in how this will be addressed.