Google Engineer With Chicago Ties Fired Over Memo

CHICAGO (CBS) — Google has dismissed the employee who wrote a memo saying women do not work well in high stress jobs.

Software engineer James Damore wrote a widely shared memo that criticized the company’s diversity initiatives. Damore, who is from Aurora and graduated from University of Illinois, belittled women’s skills and said that women are more neurotic.

CBS News correspondent Anna Werner reports Damore said he was booted from Google’s campus in Mountain View, Calif., yesterday.

In an email to CBS News, Damore said was “…wrongfully terminated” …for “perpetuating gender stereotypes.” He said his three-year career at Google ended “or political reasons.”

Kara Swisher, the executive editor of Recode, spoke with Google employees who described the current environment inside the search giant as “really toxic.”

“This memo has set off a whole stream of things … [that] we should say and do what we want. The fact of the matter is Google is a company. It has rules; he broke the rules.”

In his 3,000-word document, published within the company’s internal discussion boards, Damore railed against what he called Google’s “shaming culture,” which he said has created a “silent, psychologically unsafe environment.”

The “lower number of women in high stress jobs”, he wrote, is because “women are more prone to anxiety.

Damore also alleged that Google discriminates by having “programs… only for people with a certain gender or race.”

Erica Baker, a software engineer at Google for nine years, was shocked by that document.

“What made them feel like that was OK? What made them feel safe and protected to share this, you know, blatant sexism inside Google?”

Google CEO Sundar Pichai told employees Monday that “portions of the memo violate our code of conduct by advancing harmful gender stereotypes.”

Damore tells CBS News that before he was fired, he complained to the National Labor Relations Board that Google was trying to silence him.

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