Google fired security engineer and four other activist employees for violating the internal policy
A security engineer of Internet giant Google was fired Friday for misusing internal internet alert system to remind the co-workers of their right to take collective actions.
Kathryn Spiers, who recently worked on the Chrome browser, argued the decision of her resign and claimed that she was authorized to use the system to alert employees to new policies of the company.
I was fired last week by Google for organizing. All I did was make a popup to share the labor notice Google has to share with its workers.— Kathryn Spiers (@eiais) December 17, 2019
3 hours later mgmt came to my desk, took my phone/laptop, escorted me away. I never got to say goodbye.
My story: https://t.co/dV4ExPHbLT
In September Google published the list of rights, settling a complaint brought by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Spiers attached to the declaration that company’s employees could organize and discuss various workplace issues without retribution that eventually lead to the pop-up inside Chrome browser if the workers tried to visit an internal policy page or the website of a firm involved in attempts to break unions elsewhere.
Google suspended Spiers the same day four activists amongst her colleagues were fired.
“I expected it to be a controversial change, and I didn’t expect it to be added forever, but I also didn’t expect to be fired over it,” Spiers said in an interview.
“I created a little notification, only a few lines of code, that pops up in the corner of the browser whenever my coworkers visited the union busters’ website or the community guidelines policy. The notification said: ‘Googlers have the right to participate in protected concerted activities.’”
The company’s spokesman whose name is not published explained:
“The issue here is that a security engineer misused a security and privacy tool to create a pop-up that was neither about security nor privacy. This person did that without authorization and without a business justification.”
The Communications Workers of America (CWA), a union that filed an NLRB complaint on behalf of the other four fired workers, filed a new complaint late on Monday for Spiers. The union denied the illegalness of Speirs’ firing, citing that it was aimed “to quell Spiers and other employees from asserting their right to engage in concerted protected activities.”