Two former employees of Google have accused the tech giant of discriminating against conservative white men, in a class action lawsuit filed Monday.
One of the accusers, James Damore, was fired from the company last year after writing a memo defending the gender gap in Silicon Valley tech jobs as possibly a matter of biological differences between men and women.
Damore and David Gudeman, another former engineer at the Google, filed the suit at the Santa Clara Superior Court in California, alleging discrimination and retaliation.
The two argue in their suit that Google uses illegal hiring quotas to fill jobs with women and minority applicants.
"Google's management goes to extreme — and illegal — lengths to encourage hiring managers to take protected categories such as race and/or gender into consideration as determinative hiring factors, to the detriment of Caucasian and male employees," the complaint stated.
The suit also accuses the company of not protecting employees with conservative viewpoints, including employees who support U.S. President Donald Trump.
"Damore, Gudeman and other class members were ostracized, belittled, and punished for their heterodox political views, and for the added sin of their birth circumstances of being Caucasians and/or males," the lawsuit said.
Google said it looks forward to defending itself against the allegations in court.
Google fired Damore in August after he wrote an internal memo that was later made public in which he said that “genetic differences” may explain “why we don’t see equal representation of women in tech and leadership.”
Google chief Sundar Pichai said "portions of the memo violate our code of conduct and cross the line by advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace."
In Friday’s lawsuit, Damore said his memo was intended to remain internal and said he wrote it as a response to a request for feedback about a recent diversity and inclusion summit he attended.