Fair open discussion or gender stereotyping?
He has a PhD from Harvard in Systems Biology, and quotes generalities from Wikipedia. He says he understands that overall differences between men and women may not apply to differences between individual men and women, and yet he urges Google to make sweeping policy changes based on those group differences. And he thinks that Google’s policy of promoting diversity amounts to discrimination.
‘Discriminating just to increase the representation of women in tech is as misguided and biased as mandating increases for women’s representation in the homeless, work-related and violent deaths, prisons, and school dropouts.’—James Dunmore
What he’s really saying, of course, is that diversity—at least as it applies to hiring and promoting women—is super not fair to well… him. So obviously, in his world Google should only be allowed to pursue their corporate values of diversity if they also support increasing the numbers of women who are homeless, victims of violence, incarcerated, and uneducated. Instead, he thinks Google should really be focussing on employees’ ‘moral’ (ie political) biases and stop being so mean to conservatives like…guess who?
When James Dunmore wrote these ideas in what has come to be called the Google Manifesto [see full text here], he says he was just doing his duty by pointing out his employer’s potentially illegal practices. After all, you know, he was only exercising his right to free speech guaranteed by the First Amendment. The alt-right is proclaiming him the new martyr on the altar of political correctness, claiming that his firing was illegal and offering to support his legal case. The only problem is that he doesn’t have one.
Because you know what? The First Amendment to the Constitution doesn’t guarantee Mr. Dunmore’s right to his job. I’m not a Google employee, but I’m fairly certain that on his first day at Google, James Dunmore was informed that his employment was “at will”. That means as long as his employer doesn’t fire him for being a member of a protected class (ie because of his age, race, or religion), they could pretty much fire him for any reason from not liking the color of his shirt to not liking the fact that he used his employer’s resources to publicly advocate views supportive of gender stereotyping and bias, and thus opposed to Google’s Code of Conduct.
‘Our co-workers shouldn’t have to worry that each time they open their mouths to speak in a meeting, they have to prove that they are not like the memo states, being “agreeable” rather than “assertive,” showing a “lower stress tolerance,” or being “neurotic. — Google CEO Sundar Pichai
I headed up HR functions for technical companies for years, and I would be the first to agree that there aren’t as many skilled women applicants as men. The legal bar here is NOT that an employer must hire a certain number of women and minorities, even if they are demonstrably less qualified than their white male competitors. It is that they must be prepared to prove their policies don’t discriminate against such applicants who are qualified. Does that mean employers shouldn’t look for them? Support them when hired? Prevent them from being the victims of whiny entitled employees who think somehow they are losing out?
What if James Dunmore had said “As a group, Indians score lower on IQ tests so we shouldn’t hire them, especially as CEO.”
Even if he provided a nifty, completely meaningless little bell graph like the unlabeled one he used to support such a lame assertion, I suspect Mr. Dunmore would still feel that door fanning his tuchas as he was escorted out.
I’m old enough though, to remember managers arguing against having minorities included in our recruiting process, especially when I required them to document the reasons they were not selected. More than one assured me that it was “scientifically proven” that the minority group in question had a lower IQ compared to whites. When I told one such manager that meant that over a third of people in that minority group were smarter than the average white person, he snorted something about “lies, damn lies, and statistics”.
I have seven sisters, many of them in technical and engineering roles. They already see that they will make less money over their work career. They already know they will be among the very few technical women in the room. Last year, I wrote an open letter to my daughters and nieces, with input from their aunts and mothers. Should I now tell them that their biology will make them less successful and so if they’re hired, it must be because someone was discriminating against all those biologically-more-capable men?
Well, I have some news for Mr. Dunmore and all his whiny alt-right supporters. That’s not how biology works. That’s not how successful companies work. And—as he found out yesterday—that’s not how Google works.
I hope for my daughters and nieces and all the smart technical women our workforce desperately needs, that it’s not the way their world works.