Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Google "At Will Employment"

There is outrage over the Google software engineer who exceeded his remit and stumbled into realms far beyond his ken, viz:

I’m simply stating that the distribution of preferences and abilities of men and women differ in part due to biological causes and that these differences may explain why we don’t see equal representation of women in tech and leadership.

A fancy way of saying girls think differently than boys, and boys deserve more money for the way they think that girls can't think.  Balderdash, in other words; a statement as groundless as saying blacks can't swim (because they're too heavy; that was the excuse I heard growing up, anyway).  Or saying girls belong in the kitchen because men are the hunters and women are the cooks.

Good grief.

And then there's some idea this involves "free speech" or "political correctness" (when will that shibboleth ever die?).  Funny thing, because what it really involves is unions.  As another article on Vox points out:

"Sometimes Americans think they have more rights at work than they actually do," said Angela Cornell, an employment law professor and director of the Labor Law Clinic at Cornell University. "But a manager can fire you because they don’t like your hair or because they want to hire their sister. You can be fired for any reason or no reason."

That's not the case for unionized workers. Under collective bargaining agreements — and in some job contracts — an employer can only fire someone for "cause." This means they have to prove that the employee was a bad worker or behaved badly.
Ironic, no?  If there's one thing political conservatives and millennials seem to agree on, it's that unions are bad for business.  But lacking a union, this engineer was just asking to get canned for writing this very stupid (what else can you call it?) memo.  So the problem is not one of "free speech" (the only protection you have for your speech is that the government can't punish you for what you say) but of that other freedom:  the freedom to hire and fire, the one conservatives love.

Until they don't.

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