A former Google employee who alleges he was fired for defending women and minorities in the company’s internal chat platforms is suing the company, claiming discrimination, wrongful termination and retaliation.
Tim Chevalier, a software developer who filed the suit in San Francisco Superior Court on Wednesday, alleged that Google’s internal social networks were a tool for harassment and that he was terminated for comments criticizing discrimination against minorities.
According to the lawsuit, Chevalier’s supervisor repeatedly criticized him for engaging in social activism. Chevalier, who is transgender and has post-traumatic stress and sleep disorders, also alleged that he was subject to discrimination because of his gender and disabilities. He asked to transfer to a new team but was denied.
On Google’s internal chat platforms, Chevalier replied to posts that he found dismissive of racism and structural discrimination, such as a memo by Google engineer James Damore that suggested women were “biologically unsuited” to technical jobs. Damore was later fired for his memo and also filed a discrimination suit.
In a conversation with a human resources staff member, Chevalier was told that his use of the term “white boys” could be interpreted as a generalization about race and gender, the suit alleged. The HR inquiry into Chevalier was allegedly started when the individuals Chevalier was criticizing reported his posts defending women and minorities.
“It is a cruel irony that Google attempted to justify firing me by claiming that my social networking posts showed bias against my harassers,” Chevalier said in a statement. “The anti-discrimination laws are meant to protect marginalized and underrepresented groups, not those who attack them.”
Chevalier alleges that he was fired in November for his political posts. In a statement, Google said that any decision to terminate an employee was not connected with the individual’s political views.