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Protest Against Your Employer and Get Terminated. Well, Duh. Google Axes Anti-Google Employees

These kinds of things are always going to have various narratives, but fundamentally, if you go out and protest against your company, engage in disruptive sit-ins, etc….wouldn’t you expect to be terminated?

The privileged expectations here are radiant.

Google fired about 20 more workers whom it said participated in protests denouncing the company’s cloud computing deal with the Israeli government, bringing the total number of workers fired in the past week over the issue to more than 50, according to the activist group representing the workers.

A spokesperson for Google confirmed it had fired more workers after continuing its investigation into the April 16 protests, which included sit-ins at Google’s offices in New York City and Sunnyvale, Calif.

The dismissals occurred a few days following a company-wide memo from CEO Sundar Pichai instructing employees not to use the corporation as a “personal platform” or to “argue over contentious issues or engage in political debates.”

“The company is trying to suppress dissent, silence its employees, and reestablish its authority over them,” stated Jane Chung, a representative for No Tech for Apartheid, an organization that has been opposing Google’s and Amazon’s contracts with the Israeli government since 2021.

The disputes at Google are part of a larger wave of resistance against the U.S. government and businesses collaborating with the Israeli government and military. Pro-Palestinian demonstrators have recently been arrested at Yale and Columbia universities, prompting claims of overreach by university authorities and inciting a new round of protests at other colleges nationwide. Activists across the U.S. blocked highways, bridges, and airport entrances the day before the Google protests to voice their opposition to the war in Gaza.

There’s an ongoing public feud at Google between Google’s management team and the employees who were recently dismissed. Google asserts that the dismissed employees were deliberately causing disruptions at their offices. However, the employees refuted these statements, claiming that some among them weren’t even present at the workplace during the organized protest against the company.

According to Hasan Ibraheem, one of the terminated employees who was also arrested, Google terminated the employment of those who cooperated and willingly left sit-in upon request from the management. He also claimed that some dismissed employees were merely having casual conversations, contradicting Google’s allegations of active disruption.

Before the termination, Google’s internal investigators identified the protestors even if they were veiled or weren’t displaying their ID badges, conveyed the company spokesperson, Bailey Tomson. Tomson insists that all the dismissed employees were directly and definitively participating in causing disturbances within their establishments. The investigators took special care and repeatedly confirmed this before proceeding with the terminations, added Tomson.

Some of the protesting Google employees claim the company demonstrates a double standard in disciplining its employees. They point out how other Google employees have publicized the details of pro-Palestinian employees online, a form of public shaming known as doxing. This behavior has led to online harassment of the pro-Palestinian employees on social media platforms, claim the protesting workers.

When Mohammad Khatami, one of the dismissed employees, circulated a petition about Google’s collaboration with Israel, he reported being summoned to a meeting with HR where he was labelled a “supporter of terrorist activities”.

“It’s been many years since I was last named a terrorist, and it’s at the pinnacle of software engineering at Google that I’m hearing this term once more,” he stated.

In the past, Google has dismissed workers who publicly criticised it, though it’s never been this many at once. Google has long been viewed as the most permissive and transparent among the Big Tech firms when it comes to workplace environment and teamwork. It enjoyed an internal culture where employees were aware of other teams’ projects and were encouraged to question leadership decisions.

In a memo to the staff, Pichai stated that Google’s openness is a strength, but it should apply to work-related topics rather than politics.

“We have a culture of vibrant, open discussion that enables us to create amazing products and turn great ideas into action,” he said in the memo, which the company posted online. “But ultimately we are a workplace and our policies and expectations are clear: this is a business.”

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1 Comment

  1. Hans:

    The “Don’t be evil”-times are long gone at Google.

    Here an interesting insight about the current situation at this company: https://www.wheresyoured.at/the-men-who-killed-google/ (not related to the issue of supporting a genocide).

    April 26, 2024 @ 6:54 am | Reply

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