Google Engineer Fired After Memo Criticizing Company's Diversity Programs: Reports

The tech giant, whose tech-sector employees are 70 percent male, had said it must improve the company's diversity programs and close pay gaps between men and women

A Google engineer was fired Monday after igniting a firestorm of controversy over the weekend by writing and releasing an internal memo criticizing the tech company's diversity programs, according to multiple reports.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai said in a memo to employees that the engineer who penned the memo violated the company's code of conduct, according to a Redcode report, which was also published to CNBC.

Bloomberg first reported the name of the fired engineer, who confirmed his dismissal in an email to the news agency. NBC News has not independently confirmed the report.

The 10-page anti-diversity memo, first reported by Motherboard and published in full by Gizmodo Saturday, argued that men are biologically better fit to work in the tech industry and be leaders in the workplace. It also characterized Google's gender equality efforts as misguided.

According to Redcode, Pichai added, "To suggest a group of our colleagues have traits that make them less biologically suited to that work is offensive and not OK."

The anti-diversity memo was sent out Friday to more than 40,000 Google employees. Some employees tweeted about it on Saturday.

In May, Google said publicly it had to improve the company's diversity programs and close pay gaps between men and women. Seventy percent of the company's tech-sector employees are men.

One Google employee responded to the memo with a tweet: "That garbage fire of a document is trash, and you are wonderful coworkers who I am extremely lucky to work with."

Another employee wrote: "Imagine working at Google, getting paid all that money, just to spend your time writing a disgusting manifesto and sending it to your peers."

Danielle Brown, Google's new vice president of diversity and inclusion, responded to the document in a memo to employees, which was obtained by Motherboard. "We are unequivocal in our belief that diversity and inclusion are critical to our success as a company," she wrote. "We’ve continued to stand for that and be committed to it for the long haul."

In his anti-diversity memo, the Google engineer said there is sexism at work but that some ideas are "too sacred to be honestly discussed" at Google.

He said the company needs to be more open to conservative ideals.

Kym McNicholas, community director of Extreme Tech Challenge, a competition for startup companies, sent her thoughts on the incident to NBC Bay Area via email Sunday.

"I wouldn't give this engineer anything more than a reality check," she said. "It shows he feels threatened, and that's his own insecurity coming out." 

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