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Free speech dispute over Google’s firing of employee for ‘sexist’ memo

The alt-right is fuming at Google’s firing of an employee who wrote a 10-page memo on womens’ deficiencies in performing certain tech jobs. The man said he was told he was fired for “perpetuating gender stereotypes.” Conservative critics are protesting the move as a violation of free speech. (Forbes, August 8, 2017, by Clare O”Connor)

Under current U.S. legal practice, employers can fire employees on any grounds so long as it is not discriminatory or retaliatory. To prevail in a lawsuit against Google, the employee, James Damore, must prove he was engaged in a protected activity such as working on an investigation; was punished as in fired; and the punishment was a result of his work on a protected activity. (Quartz, August 8, 2017, by Ephrat Livni)

Legal experts are pointing out that the First Amendment protects the citizens’ free speech rights against government incursions but does not apply to actions by employers in private companies. Damore could still prevail if he could show his memo represented the views of  a number of his colleagues and expressed ideas to help and protect them. It appears, though, that the memo was a single’s person’s criticism of Google. (The Washington Post, August 8, 2017, by Jena McGregor)

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