And as these things usually go, it's time to bring in the lawyers.
The Google brouhaha has just gotten worse as at least 60 women, current and former employees at the tech giant, have banded together to weigh the merits of suing the company for sexism and discrimination.
The women claim they are being paid less than men despite having the same qualifications. San Francisco civil rights attorney James Finberg said he is working on the possible class-action suit for the women, The Guardian reported.
The potential legal action follows the release of a male engineer's 10-page memo on the state of employ at the company. James Damore, 28, said in his memo that women are "biologically" less likely to rise to the top of tech companies — and he was promptly fired by Google.
A class-action gender discrimination suit would build on a case brought by the US Department of Labor (DoL), which is arguing that Google systematically underpays women and recently convinced a judge to force the company to hand over a portion of the company’s salary records.
Google is vehemently denying that its salaries are discriminatory. However Finberg, who said he had interviewed around half of the 60 women who may be part of his lawsuit, said their testimony indicated there are clear disparities and prejudices that hurt women at the Mountain View company.
“They are concerned that women are channeled to levels and positions that pay less than men with similar education and experience,” Finberg said. Despite similar positions and qualifications, he said, some women said they make less than male counterparts in salaries, bonuses and stock options.
Several women he interviewed have said they make around $40,000 less than male colleagues doing the same work, with one woman saying she makes two-thirds of a male peer’s salary.
Of the more than 60 women who have reached out to the attorney in the last three weeks, about half still work for Google, according to Finberg, who said that more than a dozen claimed that discrimination played a role in their decision to leave the company.
The memo from Damore, who graduated from Harvard in 2013 with a doctoral degree in systems biology, was denounced by Google's new head of diversity, Danielle Brown, who said the memo "advanced incorrect assumptions about gender' and did not display a viewpoint that I or this company endorses, promotes or encourages."
Damore has just been offered a job by a man infamous for doing the same thing. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange says he'd be proud to employ the so-called "anti-diversity" former Google employee James Damore.
WikiLeaks founder, the controversial computer hacker and intelligence leaker who has been claiming diplomatic asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012, issued a series of tweets over the last few days commenting on the falsely labeled "anti-diversity" memo at Google and the company's handling of the situation.
"Identity politics 2.0 wars come to Google. Oh no. But mass spying is fine since its equal opportunity predation," he wrote when the story first broke.