Google Calls Off Employee Meeting

Google canceled a companywide meeting on Thursday after employees expressed their fears of getting exposed to harassment online

Google is still facing the aftermath of the software engineer’s memo which argued biological differences, such as women being more anxious and less tolerant to stress. On Monday, the company fired the author of the memo, James Damore, who worked in the search division, saying that he had crossed a line “by advancing harmful gender stereotypes.”

On Thursday, Sundar Pichai, the CEO, sent the following email to the staff members, cancelling the meeting only half-hour before it even started:

“We had hoped to have a frank, open discussion today as we always do to bring us together and move forward. But our Dory questions appeared externally this afternoon, and on some websites Googlers are now being named personally,” Mr. Pichai wrote, referring to Dory, the company’s internal moderator system. “Googlers are writing in, concerned about their safety and worried they may be ‘outed’ publicly for asking a question.”

Before the meeting, Google received hundreds of questions from its employees. The most frequent ones involved how the company was dealing with employees being harassed for speaking against Mr. Damore’s memo. There were also other concerns such as how to make it clear that Google did not have lower standards for hiring women, as well as minorities, and what it could do to make the political conservatives feel more welcome.

“In recognition of Googlers’ concerns, we need to step back and create a better set of conditions for us to have the discussion. So in the coming days we will find several forums to gather and engage with Googlers, where people can feel comfortable to speak freely.” Mr. Pichai said