Damore vs. Google. The Plot Thickens: By Dr. Harsh K. Luthar

I teach my students that in the U.S., one of the basic tenets of HR is to never retaliate against an employee who has filed a complaint with a federal agency against the employer.

James Damore, the engineer fired by google, is saying that this is exactly what happened in his case and he plans to pursue Google in the California Court.

James Damore was fired for circulating a memo saying that due to biological differences, women are less inclined to tech and leadership roles. Google CEO, Sundar Pichai found that Damore’s comments violated the company’s code of conduct by advancing harmful gender stereotypes at Google. Therefore, Damore was fired.

Damore, however, claims that because he had already filed a complaint against Google for discrimination with the National Labor Relations Board, his firing was in retaliation.

At this point, I am not sure of all the facts. My subjective reading of the situation is that Damore seems to be claiming that some type of reverse discrimination against white males is going on at Google because women and minorities are offered developmental workshops and white males are not.

Is that true? I don’t know.

The plot thickens and I am eager to learn more about exactly what the facts are.

Certainly, this is a very interesting and educational teaching case for HR Professors and Consultants.

Given that I am on a sabbatical in the Fall semester, I will be spending sometime following this case and writing about it.

Stay tuned.

Are You Ready To Retire? Learn From History: By Dr. Harsh K. Luthar

I recall a discussion with a colleague in late 2007 about retirement. He was preparing to make that transition in a couple of years. Unfortunately, the stock market started to slide when he was about a year away from retirement.

The market crashed on September 29, 2008. The decline continued and, by the end of 2008, Dow was down to 8,776. Naturally this dramatic decline in the market created serious challenges for people who were close to retirement and had most of their pension in stocks.

We have now entered August of 2017. August and September have historically been the worst months for stocks. This year, increasing international tensions and the potential for a serious conflict between U.S. and North Korea will add further uncertainties to the financial markets.

Although no one can predict the future, it is important that businesses educate their employees on the basics of risk management when it comes to their financial portfolios. HR departments can and should play an important role in preparing their employees to weather all types of market conditions. Ultimately, we are all responsible for educating ourselves on how to best navigate through turbulent and challenging times.

 

Working at Google is a Privilege and not a Right: By Dr. Harsh K. Luthar

One of the fundamental points I make to my HR students is this. In the United States, the First Amendment does not apply to the relationship between employees and employers in the private sector.

The first Amendment does protect the public’s right to free speech. Therefore, people in the United States are free to express a diversity of views and opinions on political, economic, social, and other matters.  Every young person joining the workforce should be taught that the freedom to speak one’s mind in the workplace is not unlimited.

Of course, every employer is obligated to comply with Federal, State, and Local laws in the United States. However, within that framework, an employer has the right to enforce standards and rules of conduct it views as consistent with its values and the corporate culture.

A Google employee learned this basic HR lesson the hard way recently when he was fired. This employee had expressed his views that Google’s diversity efforts were destined to fail because these efforts did not take into account the biological differences between men and women. According to this employee, the gender differences made women less suitable for the engineering profession. The memo expressing these opinions was leaked to the press.

The next day, Google fired the employee. The message from the Google CEO is clear. Working at Google is not a right. It is a privilege.

Could this situation have been handled better? Possibly. But how? If a male engineer truly feels that his female colleagues are not as capable, how would that affect the company culture and spirit and the work environment? 

Perhaps the HR experts among the readers can give suggestions for alternative ways to resolve the  tension that could have been adopted by Google management.

Whether one agrees with the firing of the employee at Google or not, from an HR perspective and a legal perspective, Google was perfectly within its rights to do that.

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For details on the story, see the following link from NYT.

Samsung Introduces Ultra Fast 60Ghz Wi-Fi Technology

Samsung announced today that it has developed the fastest Wi-Fi technology on the planet, five times faster than what currently exists today.

According to the Samsung announcement, the new 60 GHz Wi-fi technology will be integrated into its products by early next year.

“The 60 GHz Wi-Fi technology will enable a 1 gigabyte movie to be transferred between devices in less than three seconds while allowing uncompressed high-definition videos to be streamed in real time, the Suwon, South Korea-based company said in an e-mailed statement today. The technology removes the gap between theoretical and actual speeds, and exhibits actual speeds more than 10 times faster than with existing Wi-Fi technologies, it said.”

“Samsung has successfully overcome the barriers to the commercialization” of the 60 GHz Wi-Fi technology, Kim Chang Yong, head of a Samsung research-and-development center, said in the statement. “New and innovative changes await Samsung’s next-generation devices, while new possibilities have been opened up for the future development of Wi-Fi technology.”

Industry experts are of the view that this ultra fast Wi-Fi Technology is likely to be under the 802.11ad wireless protocol.

My comments: In my view, this ultra fast Wi-Fi technology will first be incorporated in Samsung smartphones and tablets, where Samsung is facing intense competition due to Apple introducing the large screen iPhones. It will be interesting to see the response from Apple, Microsoft, and Google in the coming week. Due to the ease of streaming this technology will allow, Netflix and others will be looking at the implications of  802.11ad wireless protocol for their business model.

The sources for this article as well as the quotes are the following two links.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-10-12/samsung-electronics-says-it-s-developed-faster-wi-fi-technology.html

http://www.betawired.com/samsung-makes-wi-fi-technology-speed-breakthrough/147942/

 

Work: By Kheyala

I am in a slightly bewildered state, having just come to the completion of two major projects; which, with my head down, had consumed much of my time and focus over the last two years.  One of them is my new website, and the other is the submission of half my life’s work to a publishing company.* Continue reading

Meditation without Frontiers – Meditacion sin Fronteras

Meditación sin Fronteras is an initiative started by Sivasankari, a meditation teacher from the Spanish Meditation Society and IFSU which is directed to teach Yoga (meditation techniques and spiritual practices) to social groups in risk of exclusion or depression. The initiative has been conceived as a service to society and it is carried by voluntary meditation teachers trained by The Spanish Meditation Society and the International Foundation for Spiritual Unfoldment who are inspired in the teachings of Gururaj Ananda Yogi. Continue reading

Joining Twitter

My curiosity finally got the better of me.

I joined Twitter just to see what all the fuss is. I knew my colleague Michael Roberto is on Twitter already and he posts interesting stuff about Business. Mike has become the first person that I have started to follow.

I don’t have any followers yet on Twitter. However, if you decide to follow me, I will do my best to have excellent and exceptional thoughts once or twice a day! I will be happy to pass these on.

You can find me on Twitter at

http://twitter.com/harshluthar