Damore Faces Long Odds in Challenging Google on Firing

Former Google software engineer James Damore has become a favorite of conservative voices on the internet in the past week, since he was fired for writing a memo that blamed in part biological differences for women’s underrepresentation in software engineering. But his chances of winning a labor complaint and getting reinstated are clouded by none other than President Trump.

That’s because Mr. Trump has begun making appointments to the National Labor Relations Board, which will hear Mr. Damore’s complaint, that will shift it from Democratic to Republican control in coming months. And Republican NLRBs tend to apply labor law more narrowly than President Barack Obama’s appointees have done, lawyers say. In recent years Obama appointees expanded employee protections, ruling that employers couldn’t fire employees for offensive speech in the workplace.

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If the two NLRB cases were decided under Obama’s appointees, Google would lose both of them, labor lawyers said. But with a new Republican-dominated board, the employees will likely face an uphill battle.

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“He will not win under the Trump NLRB.”