Yesterday, James Damore, the engineer who authored the Google Memo, which set forth his view on gender bias and diversity in technology, and who was later fired, filed a class-action lawsuit in the Santa Clara Superior Court in California. Joining him in the suit is fellow ex-employee, David Gudeman, who alleges he too was wrongfully terminated in December of 2016. The Complaint itself claims that Gudeman and Damore were “ostracized, belittled and punished for their heterodox political views, and for the added sin of their birth circumstances of being Caucasians and/or males.”
A copy of the Complaint is available here. The complaint itself is littered with (and includes as exhibits) screenshots of posts to social media outlets discussing activities inside and outside of work as well as internal clips from communications and threads.
We will continue to monitor the case and keep readers informed, but in the meantime, we would guess that this case will emphasize the importance of having strong social media policies in place, in addition to effective training for managers on how to appropriately respond to employee concerns expressed through outside speech.
For more information on an employee’s rights to “freedom of speech” in the workplace, check out our recent podcast “What Can You Say?: The First Amendment in the Workplace,” concerning employee freedom of speech in the workplace, as well as my recent discussion with David Ciullo on HR Power Hour, “When Employees Speak Out.”