Google has fired an employee who said biological differences were the reason fewer women were employed at the top of the firm.
The male software engineer wrote the comment in an internal memo. The comment broke Google's code of conduct, the firm's chief executive Sundar Pichai said in an email to staff.
Pichai said the memo advanced "harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace", the BBC reported.
The author of the paper, titled "Google's Ideological Echo Chamber", wrote that "the 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”.
He added that people at Google needed to "stop assuming that gender gaps imply sexism".
Although the comment sparked backlash both within and outside the tech firm, the author, who Google has refused to name, said he had received many messages thanking him for what he wrote.
Writing to staff on Monday afternoon, Pichai said it was "fair to debate" the topic, but added:
To suggest a group of our colleagues have traits that make them less biologically suited to that work is offensive and not OK.
It is contrary to our basic values and our Code of Conduct, which expects 'each Googler to do their utmost to create a workplace culture that is free of harassment, intimidation, bias and unlawful discrimination’.