Under the law, employers may not discriminate against individuals based on certain factors, such as race, religious preference or gender. These laws are in place to ensure that all people have access to employment opportunities and, like employers throughout the rest of the nation, New York employers must abide by the laws. If a company uses any of the aforementioned factors to make adverse employment decisions, these decisions can open the company up to liability for a host of legal claims.
However, a recent employment case has made national headlines not because an employee was fired for being a member of a protected class but, rather, because of an employee’s comments about the inclusion of a particular protected class of people in the technology field. An engineer for the tech giant Google lost his job when he proffered a 10-page internal memo that claimed women hold fewer tech positions than men because they are biologically less capable, rather than the more commonly held belief that bias and discrimination close doors to them in the tech world.
Google released the individual from his employment and claimed that his comments were hurtful and damaging to others in the entity’s employment. After losing his job, the individual indicated that he would pursue legal claims against Google for his alleged wrongful termination.
This story presents a difficult situation in which a company must carefully weigh an employee’s freedom of speech and right to express his opinion against the responsibility of the company to provide its employees with a safe, discrimination-free place to work. Employers who have struggled with how to address employment issues similar to this national story may wish to consult with employment law attorneys if they have questions about employment law for employers.
Source: eweek.com, “Engineer Fired Over Diversity ‘Manifesto’ Threatens to Sue Google,” Jaikumar Vijayan, Aug. 8, 2017