'Thanksgiving Four' say Google is punishing them

Andrew Cummings
November 26, 2019

One of those fired was Rebecca Rivers, a software engineer who was at the centre of a rally last week after she was indefinitely suspended. Both said last week that they didn't trust the company's official explanation for punishing them.

When they were still suspended prior to the firings, two of the quartet on Friday addressed a protest rally at the company's San Francisco offices, according to United States media. This includes searching for, accessing, and distributing business information outside the scope of their jobs, ' the memo added.

In the memo, Google said some employees "felt scared or unsafe, and requested to work from another location", after learning their calendars were being monitored.

In a memo first obtained by Bloomberg News, the company said the four employees "were involved in systematic searches for other employees' materials and work". The other two employees' identities have not been made public.

"Four of our colleagues took a stand and organized for a better workplace", read the post by Google Walkout for Real Change.


The statement continued: "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".

The two employees said at the protest that they had been singled out for their criticism of Google policies.

Rivers, the organizers said, had been involved in the creation of a petition calling on Google to cut ties with USA immigration enforcement agencies, including the Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection agencies. This is not how Google's open culture works or was ever meant to work, ' the memo added. "This type of union busting is unacceptable", tweeted presidential hopeful Senator Bernie Sanders.

In a statement shared with Newsweek, Google "organizers" condemned the company for firing colleagues for taking "a stand" and trying to improve workplace conditions.

Google announced Monday it had fired four employees for what it said were violations of its policies around accessing and sharing internal documents and calendars, amid rising tensions over what some workers say is a newly concerted effort by management to stifle the tech giant's freewheeling culture.


"If not, Google will likely have to reinstate the employees and pay them back pay", he told Bloomberg. He said at the time that the suspensions were an attempt to stifle dissent inside the company. Google didn't immediately respond to follow-up questions about the claims.

"For every one they retaliate against, there are hundreds of us who will fight, and together we will win".

Google has been seeking to more tightly control what information employees discuss after recent leaks, including those of sensitive projects, such as work with the Defense Department and attempts to craft products for mainland China, where Google is largely banned.

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