A Google employee who posted a controversial memo to colleagues has been fired, according to the BBC. The memo, which was posted on an internal company forum, sparked outrage after arguing that women often find themselves earning less than men down to ‘biological causes’.
“We need to stop assuming that gender gaps imply sexism,” explained the unnamed staff member. “The abilities of men and women differ in part due to biological causes and these differences may explain why we don’t see equal representation of women in tech and leadership.”
The memo was released online by Gizmodo, and went on to argue that because women have more interests in people, a tougher time negotiating and a lower stress tolerance, men find themselves more often in high-pressured positions. Men, on the other hand, are more judged on their social status and so strive to reach better positions.
“We always ask why we don’t see women in top leadership positions, but we never ask why we see so many men in these jobs,” continues the memo. “These positions often require long, stressful hours that may not be worth it if you want a balanced and fulfilling life.”
With reports showing that many across the country are still consistently feeling discriminated against in the office, the viral memo has reignited debate over how to best tackle discrimination and embrace diversity. Believing clear policy making is essential in outlining acceptable behaviour, online training and risk assessment company EssentialSkillz has announced plans to hold a webinar on ‘how to conduct an impartial HR investigation and properly evidence a policy breach’ this September.
“This case highlights the need for organisations to have a clearly written Equality and Diversity Policy,” CEO of EssentialSkillz Julian Roberts told PA Life. “Furthermore, in the event someone contravenes it, a solid audit trail is required to prove that they have not only read but also understood and signed off their agreement with the policy before action is taken.”
While many of the remarks made are allowed through free speech at the tech giant, suggesting a group of workers are biologically unsuited to their job went against Google’s code of conduct. Handling the situation openly and carefully is the best course of action for both public relations and the wellbeing and morale of staff, according to advisory company Moore Stephens.
“It is critical that any investigation into alleged staff misconduct is conducted in a totally objective and transparent manner,” said John Baker, Director Dispute Analysis and Investigations at Moore Stephens. “The fair and objective role of HR in such investigations can easily be compromised and considerations should be given to engaging a third-party to undertake such.”