Three former Google engineers, Rebecca Rivers, Sophie Waldman and Paul Duke, are suing the search giant for defamation, breach of contract and termination in violation of public order. The lawsuit, filed Monday in Santa Clara County, comes two years after their dismissal.
Rivers, Waldman and Duke were fired in November 2019 after months of public protest against Google’s policies, including “the company’s intention to contract with Customs and Border Protection (” CBP “) administration and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”). . . who they say were responsible, for example, for the separation of children from their parents, the “caging” of immigrants, the illegal detention of refugees and involvement in other human rights causes “, According to the lawsuit. A fourth employee who was fired at the same time, Laurence Berland, settled separately with Google and is not a plaintiff in the case.
Google said at the time of the layoffs that the Thanksgiving Four had been fired for “clear and repeated violations of our data security policies” and that they had engaged in “systematic searches of the equipment and work of other employees. – allegations disputed by employees. . Google employees are among hundreds of young tech workers who are increasingly becoming activists about their company’s positions on hiring, diversity, social justice and a host of other issues, from working to government agencies to policies on geopolitical issues, including censorship in China. Staff members have also challenged management decisions at Apple, Facebook and Netflix, among other companies.
The slander allegation in the trial of the three former Google employees was filed on behalf of former staff member Rebecca Rivers, in particular. The complaint names senior vice president of global affairs at Google Kent Walker and vice president of global security Chris Rackow, saying they have made “internal statements to all Google employees internationally, and caused false and misleading statements about Plaintiff Rivers to be repeated externally to the media. Walker and Rackow’s statements to the media “have caused significant damage to Rivers’ reputation and his ability to obtain paid employment.” Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the company and the two executives.
Some Google employees have claimed that the Thanksgiving Four sacking was the company’s way of discouraging organizational activity among employees, but the action did little to appease reluctant employees. In January, around 400 employees announced that they had formed a union. Called the Alphabet Workers Union, the group says it now has more than 800 members.
The complaint was brought by Laurie Burgess, a lawyer who also represents former Netflix employees Terra Field and B. Pagels-Minor, who both spoke out against the streaming giant’s decision to air the comedic episode of Dave Chapelle. , The closest. Members of the trans community and its allies said the 72-minute episode contained transphobic content that encouraged bigotry.