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Workers fired from Google plan federal labor complaint

SeattlePI.com Tuesday, 3 December 2019 ()
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Four workers fired from Google last week are planning to file a federal labor complaint against the company, claiming it unfairly retaliated against them for organizing workers around social causes.

The former employees said Tuesday they are preparing to file unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board this week. All four were fired Nov. 25 for what Google said were violations of its data security policy.

Company officials wrote in a memo — without confirming the employees’ names — that the four were “searching for, accessing, and distributing business information outside the scope of their jobs.”

But the four workers — Laurence Berland, Sophie Waldman, Rebecca Rivers and Paul Duke — say they believe they did not violate company policies and claim that Google is using the alleged violations as an excuse to terminate them for labor activity.

“This is an expression of Google’s management power,” Duke said. “They are scared of worker power.”

Google employees are known for being some of the most outspoken across the tech industry. Thousands of employees walked out of work last year to protest the company’s handling of sexual misconduct claims, in what became known as the Google Walkout. Since then, employees have petitioned for better benefits for contract workers, successfully argued for the end of mandatory arbitration and have opposed Google’s involvement in some government projects.

The company has also been known for an open, collaborative work culture since its early days, one that employee activists say is now getting closed off.

Google recently changed its weekly employee live Q&A with CEO Sundar Pichai to a monthly meeting. It has also updated its community guidelines to tell...
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