Google, once lauded as a workplace that championed a transparent and inclusive office culture, has reportedly terminated staffers who questioned the tech giant’s involvement in sensitive international affairs. The tech company fired several employees on Monday for what the company deemed a violation of its data security policy.
According to a report from CNN Business, the California-based search engine company has been subject to mounting criticism from its staff, who are increasingly dissatisfied with a number of Google’s business dealings, such as the company’s contracts with the United States military. Google employees have also voiced concern over the company’s alleged secret collaboration with the Chinese government to begin work on a search engine that would comply with the country’s stringent censorship laws.
Employees took to social media to speak out against Google, who they say fired four employees for questioning the company’s involvement in the controversial migrant detention camps along the United States-Mexico border.
Let me be clear. Google just fired 4 of my coworkers for daring to ask the question "is Google helping separate families or cage children at the border?"
After finding openly accessible information, they alerted coworkers of the horrifying news.
Yes. Google is working with CBP.
— Amr Gaber (@amrtgaber) November 26, 2019
A representative from Google responded to the allegations by stating that the four workers’ employment had been terminated due to accessing restricted information for which they did not have viewing permissions.
Google workers are countering this information with their own statement, noting that Google typically allows staffers to review any project documents in circulation. This transparency was apparently a key feature in the open culture at Google.
“The company describes it as a benefit in recruiting and even encourages new hires to read docs from projects all across the company. Which documents were off-limits after this policy change? The policy was unclear, even explicitly stating the documents didn’t have to be labeled to be off-limits. No meaningful guidance has ever been offered on how employees could consistently comply with this policy. The policy change amounted to: access at your own risk and let executives figure out whether you should be punished after the fact,” the statement reads.
These changes are part of an ongoing shift at the company. According to Gizmodo, the company removed its famous “don’t be evil” mandate from its website. Employees often looked to that tenet as a guiding principle for how they developed technology and treated their userbase. The tech company has also hired an anti-union consulting firm to assist with its employee relations, according to Forbes.
Google staffers have received an outpouring of support on Twitter, with high profile advocates like presidential contender Bernie Sanders tweeting to show solidarity with the workers.
These events occur alongside ongoing discussions about the future of big tech and the complexities they present to antitrust law. As previously reported by The Inquisitr, one in three Americans agreed that large tech corporations should be divided as to not monopolize the market.