Google fired four employees last week who are now claiming that the company acted against them for organizing other workers around social causes.
They are now planning to file an unfair labor practice charge against their former employer with the National Labor Relations Board this week.
The company did make a statement about these four employees but did not name them. According to the company these four employees were:
searching for, accessing, and distributing business information outside the scope of their jobs.
The four employees however say that no violations were made on their part and Google is just using these violations as an excuse.
The four employees whose names are Laurence Berland, Sophie Waldman, Rebecca Rivers and Paul Duke say that Google fired them for labor activity.
Paul Duke made a statement saying:
This is an expression of Google’s management power,
They are scared of worker power.
The company did issue a statement is response saying:
No one has been dismissed for raising concerns or debating the company’s activities,
Google has had an open work environment with workers being outspoken and challenging the company for better work environments. However, that open work environment is now said to be closing off.
The CEO of Google Sundar Pichai used to have weekly meeting listening to employees which were later turned into monthly meetings and Google also ending up adding a community guideline telling it’s workers to stop disrupting the workday.
Google workers have also been part of protests that were held because of the company working on certain government projects. One of the four workers that were fired on the 25th of November, Waldman and Duke helped create a petition to get Google to stop from bidding on cloud computing projects with the US Customs and Border Patrol saying that the agency had started human rights violations and the company should not be a part of that.
The other employees Rivers and Berland also played an important role in all of this including help spread the petition and they even organized campaigns involving LGBTQ rights.
According to these four workers, Google had been questioning them for months about accessing internal documents that Google claims they did and even put these on an administrative leave last month. Google has also said that they found one worker keeping track of other Google employees causing them to feel unsafe at the workplace. The company claims that these calendars were were externally along with names.
The company’s security and investigative team released a memo that read:
We have always taken information security very seriously, and will not tolerate efforts to intimidate Googlers or undermine their work, nor actions that lead to the leak of sensitive business or customer information,
The four workers however said that no information was leaked externally and any documents that are being talked about were viewed and shared internally among Google employees only.
According to the four employees are working on determining the details of National Labor Relations Board complaint together with their lawyers and will be taking action against the recent policy changes at Google that are resulting in these so called crackdown against hardworking employees. They also mentioned that they did not receive any severance payments.
The situation involving these four employees had resulted in a large protest with hundreds of people attending a rally in San Francisco at Google’s office that was meant to get Google to reinstate Rivers and Berland.
Google did make settlement with the National Labor Relations Board in September over not letting workers speak openly but has agreed to post notices to remind and encourage employees to talk to each other about workplace conditions and speak up for the better of the workplace.