Quantcast
Connect with us

Google tensions deepen over firings of ‘Thanksgiving Four’

Published

on

Google on Monday fired four employees on the grounds they had violated data security policies, but the tech titan was accused of persecuting them for trying to unionize staff.

The dismissals of the quartet — dubbed the “Thanksgiving Four” on social media — deepened staff-management tensions at a company once seen as a paradigm of Silicon Valley freedoms but now embroiled in numerous controversies.

ADVERTISEMENT

A memo to employees titled “Securing our data” sought to correct what Google contended was misinformation about the purported wrongdoing, saying it involved “systematic searches for other employees’ materials and work.”

Google, the money-making engine of parent company Alphabet, confirmed a copy of the note published by Bloomberg News but declined to comment further to AFP.

The memo said the information accessed by the individuals, “along with details of internal emails and inaccurate descriptions about Googlers’ work, was subsequently shared externally.”

But the Tech Workers Coalition said the employees had been fired for “organizing at work” and urged others at Google to speak out.

“This is meant to scare workers, don’t let it,” the campaign group tweeted, appealing for other employers to step in and hire the four. At least one job offer came through in response.

ADVERTISEMENT

One of the workers fired was connected to a petition condemning Google for working with the US customs and border patrol agency, which has been involved in President Donald Trump’s crackdown on illegal immigration.

“Four of our colleagues took a stand and organized for a better workplace,” read a Medium post by Google Walkout for Real Change, which organised a staff protest last year over the issue of sexual misconduct.

“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.’

ADVERTISEMENT

“When they did, Google retaliated against them.”

Authors of the post contended that Google policies on data security were tightened simply to provide cover for getting rid of the workers.

ADVERTISEMENT

“This is classic union busting dressed up in tech industry jargon, and we won’t stand for it,” they said.

– Global disputes –

The Google workplace has been disrupted by employee opposition to top-level decisions ranging from forging contracts with the US military to tailoring a version of the search engine for China.

A year ago, Google employees poured out of premises at its Mountain View campus and around the world to protest the company’s handling of sexual misconduct allegations.

ADVERTISEMENT

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 US media.

Jeffrey Hirsch, a University of North Carolina law professor and former National Labor Relations Board attorney, said Google could face legal problems unless it could show a consistent approach towards other staff accused of the same conduct as the four.

“If not, Google will likely have to reinstate the employees and pay them back pay,” he told Bloomberg.

Google’s virtual monopoly on internet searches has provoked accusations that it abuses its global dominance to attract more advertising money at the expense of others, such as the news media.

ADVERTISEMENT

In France, an alliance of press groups is fighting back with a complaint under the European Union’s new copyright law. AFP has brought a separate complaint against Google.

Like Facebook and Twitter, Google also stands accused of turning a blind eye to political disinformation on its platforms.

Last week, the search leader updated how it handles political ads, stepping up actions it says it is taking in the buildup to the US presidential election next year.


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

‘Absolute vacuum in leadership’: Internet shreds ‘coward’ Trump for hiding as 75 cities protest

Published

on

President Donald Trump is under fire Sunday after the White House announced he will not be seen today despite five days and nights of protests in more than 75 cities across the country and governors in at least ten states activating the National Guard.

Possibly more than at any time during his three-and-a-half year old administration Trump is taking tremendous criticism for how he has managed the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and for his handling of the protests against the killing by police of George Floyd.

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Trump boasts he’s about to declare Antifa a ‘Terrorist Organization’

Published

on

Donald Trump took to Twitter on Sunday morning to announce that he will be "designating ANTIFA as a Terrorist Organization."

The brief tweet followed several others blaming violence at George Floyd protests on the loosely organized group of anarchists.

The president wrote, "The United States of America will be designating ANTIFA as a Terrorist Organization."

You can see the tweets below:

The United States of America will be designating ANTIFA as a Terrorist Organization.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 31, 2020

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

Make cops pay for their crimes and end ‘qualified immunity’: conservative columnist

Published

on

Writing for the conservative Bulwark, the vice president for criminal justice at the Cato Institute explained that the time has come for police officers who have been accused of crimes be treated like any other Americans and not be handed the shield of "qualified immunity" that protects them from paying the price for breaking the law.

As Cato's Clark Neily wrote, in light of the death of George Floyd at the hands of four Minneapolis police officers -- now all fired -- it is time for a reappraisal of legal protections provided to law enforcement personnel.

Continue Reading
 
 
You need honest news coverage. Help us deliver it. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1. Go ad-free.
close-image