Google fires 28 employees who protested against its contract with Israel, says no place for such behaviour

Google has fired 28 employees who protested against its cloud-computing contract with Israel called Project Nimbus. The company, in a memo, said that it has no place for such behaviour and it will not be tolerated.
Google fires 28 employees who protested against its contract with Israel, says no place for such behaviour
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Google has fired 28 employees after they protested against the company's cloud-computing contract with Israel, called Project Nimbus. The employees had staged sit-in protests at two Google offices recently. On Tuesday, some employees were even arrested after they refused to move from Google's Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian's office for more than eight hours. The news of Google firing the protestors comes after the arrests were made. As per an internal memo obtained by The Verge, Google has said that it has no place for such behaviour and will not tolerate it.

As per a report in The Verge, Google has fired 28 employees for protesting against Project Nimbus. In a memo obtained by the publication, the company's head of global security, Chris Rackow, warned employees against such behaviour and said that they won't tolerate it.

The memo began by mentioning how some Google employees staged sit-in protests at the tech giant's offices in New York and Sunnyvale. "They took over office spaces, defaced our property, and physically impeded the work of other Googlers," the memo said.

Rackow then termed the behaviour of these employees as "unacceptable and extremely disruptive" which "made coworkers feel threatened." He then revealed that the employees were investigated and had their system access cut off. "Those who refused to leave were arrested by law enforcement and removed from our offices," he added.

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Google fires 28 employees who protested against its contract with Israel, says no place for such behaviour

Announcing the firing of 28 employees who were involved in the protests, Rackow's memo added, "Following investigation, today we terminated the employment of twenty-eight employees found to be involved. We will continue to investigate and take action as needed. Behaviour like this has no place in our workplace and we will not tolerate it. It clearly violates multiple policies that all employees must adhere to — including our Code of Conduct and Policy on Harassment, Discrimination, Retaliation, Standards of Conduct, and Workplace Concerns."

Rackow also said that the"overwhelming majority" of their employees "do the right thing." He warned employees to think about the implications of their actions and added, "The overwhelming majority of our employees do the right thing. If you're one of the few who are tempted to think we’re going to overlook conduct that violates our policies, think again. The company takes this extremely seriously, and we will continue to apply our longstanding policies to take action against disruptive behaviour — up to and including termination."

The protests were organised by No Tech for Apartheid group, which is a group within Google that has been increasingly vocal about the company's business decisions.

In response to Google's firing of the employees involved in the protest, the No Tech for Apartheid group said Google hasn't responded to their concerns for three years. "Google workers have the right to peacefully protest about terms and conditions of our labour. These firings were clearly retaliatory," the group added in a post on Medium.

The Google employees were protesting over the billion-dollar AI contract, Project Nimbus, which was signed in 2021. An abc7 news report had said earlier that, as per Google employees, the services provided by Project Nimbus were contributing to the use of AI in the ongoing conflict in Gaza, which they described as the first AI-powered genocide.

One of the protestors, Emaan Haseem, had earlier told abc7news that she didn't want to lose her job, but it was not possible to come to work every week without "acknowledging and loudly condemning Project Nimbus and any support for the Israeli government." Haseem had also explained how several employees had resigned from the company citing Project Nimbus as the reason.

The protesters live-streamed the protest on Twitch, declaring their demands. These demands included Google severing all ties with the Israeli military and government, and addressing what they called a "health and safety crisis" amongst workers.

Source: India Today

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