Google fires four employees tied to protests, for ‘breach of information security’.
New York/San Francisco/Edinburgh: Google fired four employees for what the tech giant said were violations of its data-security policies, escalating tension between administration and activist workers at a company once revered for its open company culture.
The actions were said by some supporters of the employees.
‘That is classic union busting dressed up in technology business jargon, and we will not stand for this ‘
In recent weeks, some workers have cited direction moves — for example implementing a monitoring tool on employee’s web browsers and hiring a consulting firm known for anti-union work — as attempts to suppress activism. The company has denied those charges. One Google worker wrote on Twitter that the company fired the employees to stamp out internal dissension. To get a demonstration, more than 200 people demonstrated outside the San Francisco office of Google on Friday. The protesters demanded the company reinstate.
Rivers confirmed the tweet but declined to comment further.
Rivers had stated she was being targeted for protesting against U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which will be analyzing a Google cloud product. Berland was active in protests against YouTube. Both said for punishing them, they didn’t trust the company’s official excuse.
Federal labor law restricts retaliation against employees for collective actions. ‘When employees have engaged in the behaviour Google cites in its memo, have they been fired?’ Said Jeffrey Hirsch, former National Labor Relations Board attorney and a University of North Carolina law professor. ‘If not, Google will have to reinstate the workers and pay them back pay.’
We have seen a recent increase in information including details and the names of our workers. Our teams are committed to exploring these problems, and today we’ve dismissed four employees for clear and repeated violations of our information security policies.
There has been some misinformation circulating about the particular investigation, both internally as well as externally. We would like to be clear that none of those individuals were fired for only looking at calendars or documents during the normal course of the work.
On the contrary, our comprehensive investigation found the individuals were included in systematic searches for other workers’ work and materials. This includes searching for, obtaining, and distributing business information outside the range of their jobs — repeating this conduct even after they were fulfilled with and reminded about our data security policies. This information, along with details of internal mails and incorrect descriptions regarding Googlers’ work, was shared externally.
In one case they obtained and copied, an individual. The person setup notifications so that they received mails detailing the work and whereabouts of these workers, such as private matters like 1:1s, medical appointments and family activities — all without those workers’ knowledge or approval. When the influenced Googlers found this, many reported they felt fearful or dangerous, and requested to work from a different place. Screenshots including details and their titles made their way.
We’ve always taken information security quite seriously, and will not tolerate efforts to intimidate Googlers or undermine their job, nor actions that lead to the leak of sensitive business or client information. This isn’t the open culture of Google functions or was meant to do the job how. We expect every member of our network.
Fortunately, these types of actions are infrequent. Thank you to everyone who does the right thing daily — doing excellent work, while inspiring and keeping the confidence of our users, partners, and also every other.