Googlers say the company is trying to crush worker organization after it fired 4 people
- Google has been accused of "union-busting" after it fired four employees on Monday for what it described in an internal memo as "clear and repeated violations" of its data security policies.
- According to Bloomberg, the internal memo said that the employees had searched and distributed information outside the scope of their jobs. But the employees said they were targeted for their criticism of their employer.
- On Tuesday, employee activist group Google Walkout for Real Change published a blog post on Medium which accused Google of "hiring a union-busting firm" and "attempting to crush worker organizing."
- A Google spokesman told Business Insider that it "could confirm" the contents of the internal note published by Bloomberg, without providing further comment.
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The post read: "Four of our colleagues took a stand and organized for a better workplace. This is explicitly condoned in Google's Code of Conduct, which ends: "And remember… don't be evil, and if you see something that you think isn't right - speak up.""When they did, Google retaliated against them. Today, after putting two of them on sudden and unexplained leave, the company fired all four in an attempt to crush worker organizing."
On Monday, Google circulated an internal memo obtained by Bloomberg which stated the firm had fired four employees for searching for and distributing information outside the scope of their jobs. Two of the four had been involved in protests against Google, and insinuated that they had been targeted for their activism.The Medium post accused Google of of deliberately obfuscating its policy on which documents employees could look at, so that employees would unwittingly look at off-limits documents - giving Google an excuse for targeting employees as it saw fit.
Troy Wolverton/Business Insider
"Around the same time Google redrafted its policies, making it a fireable offense to even look at certain documents. And let's be clear, looking at such documents is a big part of Google culture; the company describes it as a benefit in recruiting, and even encourages new hires to read docs from projects all across the company," the post continued.
The group added that the policy was unclear, and that documents were not labeled as "off-limits.""No meaningful guidance has ever been offered on how employees could consistently comply with this policy. The policy change amounted to: access at your own risk and let executives figure out whether you should be punished after the fact," the group wrote.
"We knew then, and it's clear now: this policy change was setting up an excuse to retaliate against organizers, allowing the company a pretext for picking and choosing who to target."
Current and former Googlers expressed outrage about the firings, and supported the view that Google was clamping down on vocal employees. The New York Times earlier reported that Google had quietly hired an anti-union consulting firm called IRI Consultants.Meredith Whittaker, who helped organize the 2018 walkout, described the firm's actions as "craven retaliation."
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It's happened. Google is illegally firing organizers.- Meredith Whittaker (@mer__edith) November 25, 2019
This is craven retaliation, and I ask everyone who can to show up and support. More soon... https://t.co/eulcghkJVQ
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