Published: Thu, November 28, 2019
Markets | By Otis Pena

Google's Firing of Employees Dubbed as "Thanksgiving Four" Results Into Protest

Google's Firing of Employees Dubbed as

An alliance of tech workers rallied on Monday to show their support for four employees fired by Google for what the US tech company described as violating the company's data security policies.

Google's internal email to all its staff entitled "Securing our data", said the four staffers (dubbed the "thanksgiving four") were violations of its data-security policies. The e-mail, sent on behalf of the Google security and investigation team, indicated that the dismissed employees had mis-accessed the employees' agenda. containing information about their location and shared it with external sources.

The former workers had been suspended for sharing a list of names and job titles on an open letter with the media, in an attempt to raise awareness about Google's upcoming bid for a border protection contract with American immigration authorities, which have been accused of human rights abuses at the USA border.

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

"A thorough investigation has shown that these people deliberately carried out systematic research on the documents and work of other employees", research that was not part of their own functions, the company adds in the document.

The sackings followed a demonstration at Google's San Francisco office on Friday, attended by more than 200 Google employees.

"With these firings, Google is ramping up its illegal retaliation against workers engaging in protected organizing".

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

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Workers at Google have been led to believe that their independence and input are valuable to the company, but if that was ever true it seems to be changing.

One of many dismissed workers was linked with a petition during which Google was convicted of cooperating with U.S. customs and border patrol, concerned in President Donald Trump's crackdown on unlawful immigration.

Google spokesperson Katie Hutchison, however, refused to name the other two employees. Reportedly, Google executives approved the free trial offer to CBP despite employees protesting against it.

On Monday, Rebecca Rivers tweeted that she had been terminated from her job.

Workers have also questioned Google over a secret project to develop a search engine for China, created to aid in its censorship regime. One of them argued that the four workers were fired in an attempt to crush efforts to organise staff.

Google, known for its freewheeling culture, has lately tried overseeing what information employees discuss amid recent security breaches, including those involving the Defense Department.

It is notable that Google's memo-which reads as a threat to staff who might either be sympathetic to the fired workers or who have been supporting their political activism-goes on to claim that the four employees were attempting to "intimidate Googlers" who "felt scared or unsafe" in their workplaces. According to the company, screenshots of some staffers' calendars that included their names and other details subsequently made their way outside the company. "We expect every member of our community to abide by our data security policies".

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