On November 22nd, roughly 200 Google employees and supporters rallied to protest the suspension of two colleagues, Rebecca Rivers and Laurence Berland, for allegedly accessing internal information they shouldn’t have in the course of their worker activism. Now, it appears Google has fired both those workers, as well as two other employees who participated in the rally.
Bloomberg reports that Google sent out a company-wide memo today confirming that it had fired four employees for “clear and repeated violations of our data security policies,” saying those workers “were involved in systematic searches for other employees’ materials and work,” continued to do so after warnings, and leaked some of that information outside the company. Google confirmed to Bloomberg and The Verge that the memo was legitimate.
In response, the 2018 Google Walkout organizers group is accusing the company of “union busting,” claiming in a blog post on Medium that the company is illegally retaliating against prospective union organizers like Rivers and Berland, and changing its policies to let it fire whomever it chooses, when it previously allowed employees to freely access documents from across the company. The Google Walkout group claims that all four employees fired today participated in the November 22nd rally.
The Tech Workers Coalition has spoken out against the firings as well. The workers are being called “the Thanksgiving Four”: