Sunday, May 22, 2022

Google settles with engineers who said they were fired for trying to organize

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Google has reached a settlement with six engineers over claims the company has crushed employees’ efforts to organize, as first reported by Motherboard† The details of the settlement remain under a nondisclosure agreement, but four of the workers reportedly fired in retaliation for their labor activism in 2019 will not be reinstated, while one is still employed by the tech giant.

Four employees, Rebecca Rivers, Laurence Berland, Paul Duke and Sophie Waldman, filed a labor suit against Google in 2019 after the company said they had been fired for violating its data security policy. Prior to their termination, they rebelled against some of Google’s ethically questionable choices, including: her work with Customs and Border Protection (CBP), despite the agency’s treatment of immigrants and enforcement of family separation policies. Berland reached a settlement with Google last year.

Another employee, Kathryn Spiers, was fired shortly afterwards for creating internal pop-ups, saying, “Googlers have the right to engage in protected coordinated activities.” The pop-up would appear when employees viewed Google’s internal employee guidelines or visited the website of IRI Consultants, an anti-union firm that Google had hired. Google says Spiers was fired for not getting proper approval for the code she used to make the report.

In 2020, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) filed a complaint against Google, alleging that the company illegally spied on Berland and Spiers before firing them, saying that Google was “demonstrably violating” labor laws by Waldman, Rivers and Duke. to fire. The NLRB sued the tech giant last year, and over the course of the two-year legal battle, the NLRB discovered something called Project Vivian, Google’s secret union initiative. In January, the court ordered Google to hand over more internal documents that the company was trying to hide by claiming attorney-client privilege.

“It took more than two years of fighting. More than 2 years of living in an almost constant hell. But it’s finally over,” Rivers said in a tweet† “Fighting for workers’ rights is hard, it hurts, but it’s worth it to see the impact we’ve helped make in the Labor Organizing movement.”

Last November, Waldman, Rivers and Duke filed a separate lawsuit against Google, declaring that they were contractually obligated to follow the company’s famous “don’t be malicious” policy, thus protesting Google’s contract with the company. CBP. This lawsuit was dropped as part of the settlement, according to The New York Times

“I’m very proud of what my clients have accomplished: They fought aggressively — and successfully — to expose Google’s plan orchestrated at the highest level of internal management to suppress union organizing and prevent employees from raised issues concurrent with workplace and global concerns,” Laurie Burgess, the attorney representing the employees, said in a statement to: The edge† “I am confident that my client’s success here – by effectively bringing Google to its knees – will encourage other Googlers and, for that matter, employees in other industries to take up the baton and continue efforts to hold companies accountable. to hold for their deeds.”

Google didn’t respond right away The edge‘s request for comment.


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