It’s been just over a week when Google fired one of their engineers, who decided to write a 10-page manifesto and sent it out to employees of the company. In the manifesto, he stated some of his opinions on the diversity initiatives the company was trying to put through, decided to add that women were biologically inferior when it came to coding and a lot of other things I’ve decided I’m not interested in. He closed the letter by saying he was expressing his free speech, and just because it didn’t totally match up with Google’s initiatives that it shouldn’t mean he should lose his job over it.


My initial response when I read the story early on was that it could prove to be a starting point towards a larger conversation. That was based only on the news story, since the original letter hadn’t been shared yet. Over time, I did read the letter, read a couple of the responses, and changed my mind.

There have been a lot of opinions going back and forth, some supporting Google, others condemning it. The sides have broken down pretty much as I expected; the normal liberal versus conservative nonsense that often comes after something like this, that’s continued even after this past weekend’s protest/rally/killing in Charlottesville VA over the soon-to-be removal of a confederate Civil War statue at the University of Virginia.

I’m not going there because I don’t have to. I’m looking at this from the point of view of leadership, diversity, and stupidity. I’m looking at this from the point of view of business and the law. Finally, I’m looking at it from the point of view that just because you think you should have freedom of speech without consequences is a myth if you irk the wrong people… in the wrong way.

Time for my 3 reasons why this guy deserved to be fired.

1. He set up a horrible culture for new and existing female coders.

In all my years in health care, I’ve mainly worked with women. I’ve had a few male employees, but that count comes to less than 10. I’ve also had to fire employees here and there… two of them turned out to be men.

In neither case was it their work that got them fired; it was their behavior towards the women. I’ve never understood how a person can learn from someone and then turn around and talk to them as if they’re not an equal. Not only that, but those snide comments about women that men often make with other men doesn’t go over so well when they say these things to women; it’s a good lesson for men who work with women to learn.

As a leader, I only concentrated on the job at hand. I needed to get certain results so that the hospitals had more than enough money to get things done. I also needed to make sure that everyone was on the same page and were comfortable working with each other. Sure, here and there a couple of people would have an argument and the office would be disturbed for a couple of days, but it either blew over or I interceded so that it would be over quickly.

I’m not someone who fires people without a lot of thought. I also put in time counseling and talking to them, sometimes setting up extra training if that’s what’s needed. I spent time talking to both of these men, and I always thought their behavior would change. It would get better… for a few days, and then the behavior would come back.


Both of these men set up a toxic culture. Women were unnerved working with them, and performances suffered. I followed the rules of counsel, wrote everything down, and in the end I fired both men for behavioral issues around women.

They weren’t the only men who ever worked for me, and none of the other men ever caused a disturbance. I didn’t have time to constantly have to deal with people who didn’t fit in with the culture in departments I was responsible for. Their outward behavior disturbed the force; they had to go.

This Google engineer’s words about women and biology and coding was irresponsible. The same type of words have always been used on minorities, saying we’re not as smart as white people based on IQ tests. They’ll give a pass to some of us, but condemn everyone else.

It’s still happening now. I imagine a young person being the first black in a certain office or position having to deal with a culture that’s reinforced ideas of incompetence based on false beliefs. It’s what women and minorities have to deal with in technology based companies, which includes Facebook, Twitter… you name it. It’s one thing walking into a new office thinking that everyone’s going to give you the benefit of the doubt… even if they’re not. It’s another knowing you’ve shown up and will never be seen as an equal no matter what you do.

Google’s leadership was in a tough spot, especially after the entire letter got out. As an employer, many companies have done the same thing when one of their employees embarrassed the company, even when they did it on their own time. If a hotdog shop owner in California can fire someone who participated in an alt-right rally all the way across the country after making them look bad then a conglomerate can do the same thing.

2. He embarrassed his employers, who were already the beneficiaries of bad press for not doing enough for diversity.

Google was already under fire for its lack of diversity as it concerned women and minorities. Weeks earlier, a report came out showing that women software engineers and other professionals is under 24%, while black employees is around 2% and Latino workers is around 5%.

At the same time, Google’s also under fire for a gender pay gap which has the Department of Labor on their heels and taking them to court for more information. There’s also a great possibility that there will soon be a class action lawsuit filed by around 60 female employees regarding this.


The last thing they needed was a male employee deciding that he felt left out of diversity efforts being geared towards bringing in more women and paying them better, and then putting his thoughts out there for everyone to see that he was going against their efforts (apparently anyway)… They were left in a pretty bad place once again and their option to fire him was pretty legitimate.

3. He sent it to everyone; he works at Google, so he should have known better.

I don’t work for Google; most of you don’t work for Google. However, we all probably use Google for search. Have you ever looked up your own name to see what Google knows about you. Go ahead and take a look; I’ll wait…

Shocking, isn’t it? Unless you’re pretty savvy or aren’t on social media, they know a heck of a lot about you, and you don’t even work at the company. You know something else? Even if you didn’t put things out there about yourself, you can’t always control what other people are going to share about you.

This guy worked at Google. He was an engineer. He knew the culture. He knew the rules. Yet he felt so compelled to get his point across to as many people as possible that he sent it to the entire company… even though he said it wasn’t his intention. He then said he was shocked that the letter got out to the public; are you kidding me?

If the people in Washington can’t keep secrets with the power and money that they have, what made this guy think he could write 10 pages of idiocy and send it to as many people as he thought he was sending it to in the first place? Didn’t he know that work email is the property of the employer? Did he think he’d vetted everyone he sent it to as co-conspirators of his demented, researched logic? Didn’t he learn anything from offending students and professors in an ill-planned and performed skit that indirectly led to his not completing a doctoral program?

Sometimes people think they’re the smartest person in the room and can get away with anything. Sometimes their intellect leads to bad decisions. Sorry son, but as Ice-T once proclaimed, “you played yourself.” There’s no one to blame but yourself. You were stupid on an epic level. If you really wanted change, why not be an adult and go talk to the VP of diversity and express your feelings instead of trying to dare them to fire you?

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