Google And Twitter Facing Diversity Lawsuits From ‘Both Sides’

Two Silicon Valley titans, Twitter and Google have found themselves facing lawsuits from opposite sides over their stands on diversity. While Twitter has been accused of censorship by a self-proclaimed white nationalist, Google has on the other hand been accused of failing to offer protection to its employees from white supremacist bullies.

In the lawsuit against Twitter, Jared Taylor, a white nationalist accuses Twitter of banning him as well as his publication for having controversial views on immigration and race and not because of advocating violence or harassing anyone. Taylor founded New Century Foundation which is based in Virginia and which publishes an internet magazine known as American Renaissance.

Account suspension

According to Taylor, he was informed by Twitter last year in December via email that his account was being suspended as well as the one belonging to American Renaissance. Taylor claimed that the reasons given by the microblogging firm included the fact that the accounts had been found to be in violation of Twitter’s terms of use which prohibit violent extremist groups. Per Taylor neither he nor his organization are a violent extremist group.

Taylor also denies that he or his organization have links to groups that would fit in the violent extremist category. As a result of the ban Taylor claims that fundraising efforts of New Century Foundation have been hampered. Consequently Taylor not only wants his accounts reinstated but he is also seeking unspecified damages.

Controversial James Damore memo

The lawsuit against Google has been brought forward by a former site reliability engineer of the online search giant, Tim Chevalier, who claims he was sent parking after he criticized the controversial memo that James Damore wrote. Chevalier who was fired last year in November claims that the reasons his employment was terminated by Google was the fact that he had written posts on internal discussion forums which besides criticizing Damore, called for diversity at the tech firm.

The firing of Damore took place last year in August after writing a memo which seemed to advance harmful gender stereotypes. In the memo Damore wrote that the reason there was a gender imbalance at Google and other Silicon Valley firms was because of the psychological differences that existed between women and men.

Internal discussion forums

After getting fired Damore later filed a lawsuit alleged that the online search giant has discriminatory policies against white male conservatives. In his lawsuit Damore included close to 100 pages showing screen shots on internal forums meant to demonstrate that conservative viewpoints were met with widespread hostility at Google.

Chevalier’s lawsuit is however on the opposite side of the divide as he alleges that the online search giant failed in its responsibilities as marginalized groups were exposed to discriminatory behavior on the internal platforms of the company. For instance LGBT employees were referred to as ‘immoral’ and other derogatory terms by other members of staff. In all this Chevalier took part in the internal discussions and trying to call out cases of harassment and discrimination.

Social activism

“It is a cruel irony that Google attempted to justify firing me by claiming that my social networking posts showed bias against my harassers. The anti-discrimination laws are meant to protect marginalized and underrepresented groups – not those who attack them,” said Chevalier in a statement.

Additionally Chevalier claimed that his manager chastised him for devoting too much of his time to social activism.

Google defended its move to terminate the services of Chevalier by saying that while it allowed and valued lively debate at the company, all employees must abide by the company’s policies while communicating. The tech giant added that all debate had to be civil and when flouted action had to be taken.