back to article Google ex-employees demand retribution for Thanksgiving massacre

The four engineers fired by Google just before Thanksgiving for allegedly e-stalking co-workers have said they will file a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board claiming they were subject to an illegal intimidation campaign. Laurence Berland, Paul Duke, Rebecca Rivers and Sophie Waldman, who worked at the tech …

  1. tfewster Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Do no evil

    If only the right to be forgotten applied to Google as a data subject - They could eradicate that pesky ex-motto of "Do no evil" from the Interwebs

  2. Richocet

    This was never formally adopted as the company's motto.

    1. doublelayer Silver badge

      But frequently used in major corporate documents and cited as the corporate motto by executives of that corporate. Which is effectively what you need for something to be your corporate motto. It's clear, however, that the changing of that motto occurred years after any attempt to stick to it had been abandoned.

    2. mr.K

      Formal?

      What does that even mean, "Formally adopted as the company's motto."?

      Do they have to go to town hall or a nearby church, or is enough to publicly announce it?

      "We here at Google, in front of God, countrymen and these witnesses, which to make it clear...."

      Isn't the whole concept of a motto informal to it's core?

      1. EnviableOne Silver badge

        Re: Formal?

        nah, just needs to be voted on and agreed by a majority of the board ....

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Formal?

          nah, just needs to be voted on and agreed by a majority of the board small number of rich and powerful from the board ....

          ftfy

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I don't like to judge people based on their appearance...

    ...but...

    1. Gudieve Ning
      Thumb Up

      Re: I don't like to judge people based on their appearance...

      Most snowflakes today are losers. No fan of some of what Google gets up to, but these guys sound bitter. And if they breached company security and confidentiality protocol they need to be shown the door.

      1. IceC0ld Silver badge

        Re: I don't like to judge people based on their appearance...

        And if they breached company security and confidentiality protocol ---- IF

        two sides to every story, and organising unions is never reason to fire someone from a Co unless said Co has something to hide

        1. Nick Stallman

          Re: I don't like to judge people based on their appearance...

          No but putting tracking the movement of fellow workers and automating checks on their calendars is creepy as all hell and certainly not "do no evil". They can disagree with some of those projects without actively spying on individual people working on them.

          Sounds like they got too cocky thinking they were untouchable and that no one would notice what they were doing.

          1. LucreLout Silver badge

            Re: I don't like to judge people based on their appearance...

            They can disagree with some of those projects without actively spying on individual people working on them.

            Quite. I don't want to work on or for someone that creates Hunter Killer type drones or tech for them, so I don't. The correct thing to do should your employer embark upon an endeavor that goes against your personal ethics, is to quit and explain why politely in your resignation letter.

            What you can't do is illegally start stalking your colleagues and misusing the companies legally held data about them to further whatever sinister campaign you're pushing by abusing that data.

        2. SundogUK Silver badge

          Re: I don't like to judge people based on their appearance...

          "organising unions is always reason to fire someone from a Co"

          FIFY

          1. Tom 38 Silver badge

            Re: I don't like to judge people based on their appearance...

            "organising unions is always reason to find some other reason to fire someone from a Co"

            Really FTFY. The purpose of HR departments is to find the things that you can be fired for, and ensure that people who are fired have a reason that is legally justified for firing them, even if you only went looking for that reason because they are doing something that you don't want them to do but can't fire them for.

            A guy I worked with got fired because he was persistently late to work. He was always in earlier than me, and worked later than me, but due to clash of personalities with his line manager and his line manager's line manager, that's what he got canned for.

            1. Albatross! Al-Ba-Tross!

              Re: I don't like to judge people based on their appearance...

              IMO, the tide turned from any kind of interest in the worker (a time which existed for a short bit during the 70s and very early 80s) when "Personnel" was rebranded "HR", and we all became expendable "resources". Sets expectations in both directions.

            2. The Nazz Silver badge

              Re: I don't like to judge people based on their appearance...

              Jeez, how late were you then? And thankfully, you must be an excellent worker.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: I don't like to judge people based on their appearance...

                Excellent worker? Maybe. Politically and socially adept is the point.

        3. LucreLout Silver badge

          Re: I don't like to judge people based on their appearance...

          organising unions is never reason to fire someone

          Oh yes it bloody is.

          There are no successful unionised industries or companies. All of the big unionised places went bust because the unions couldn't comprehend that they don't run the business, and would strike for whatever whenever they thought they would.

          They're a dinosaur from another age whose time has long since passed, and whose relevance to the modern age may best be considered akin to that of ink and quill pen.

          Most, almost all in fact, union members are too slow of thinking to realize the union doesn't give a damn about them and never would. One of the finest wine cellars in all the country belonged to the RMT under Bob Crow. You never see a poor union baron - they all enjoy fat cat pay and wallet busting pensions, paid for directly by their members stupidity.

          Now, it may not be legal to fire someone for organizing a union in your jurisdiction, but even someone so slow of mind as to want to be a union rep should realize that while so organizing, you need to keep your nose clean and can't afford to breach fellow employees confidentiality by slurping their data into your pet stalking project because you don't like what your employer is legally doing.

          1. SImon Hobson Silver badge

            Re: I don't like to judge people based on their appearance...

            There are no successful unionised industries or companies

            I think you are confused between unionised (as in having official union recognition, collective bargaining, etc) and "closed shop". For the latter, I'd agree - you don't need to look too far back to see situations where "bad" unions were a problem of their own making.

            It brings to mind that that 1971 documentary which explored the state of "bad unionism" at the time.

            But these days, unions are probably more important than ever as large corporates have found ways to work around some employment protections (e.g. zero hours contracts, forcing "employees" to be self employed contractors who can have their contracts cancelled with no notice).

        4. EnviableOne Silver badge

          Re: I don't like to judge people based on their appearance...

          2 sides, in this post-truth societey ther is atleast 3

          Party A's story, Party B's story and the Truth

      2. MiguelC Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: "these guys sound bitter"

        Wouldn't you be bitter if you felt you'd been unfairly fired?

        1. LucreLout Silver badge

          Re: "these guys sound bitter"

          Wouldn't you be bitter if you felt you'd been unfairly fired?

          Not so bitter as I'd destroy my whole career by going public like this, no. What I'd probably do is pick myself up, dust myself down, and find a better employer, then move on with my life.

          Their reputations are toast now, no matter who wins any legal dances that may emerge down the line. They've no chance of being hired by a proper company in future - you'd never be able to explain to HR why you hired them given their previous cyber bullying of colleagues, were there to be a repeat in your gaff.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "these guys sound bitter"

            Wouldn't you be bitter if you felt you'd been unfairly fired?

            Not so bitter as I'd destroy my whole career by going public like this, no.

            Two words: Edward Snowden

            He wasn't fired per se, but his action destroyed his whole career let alone endangering his own life, in return he gained the reputation of a hero.

            You have your reasons as many of us do for not going public on real issue (unfairly fired), but if I were you I wouldn't judge people on going public using my cowardly inaction as reason.

            -AC because Cowardly Posting

      3. BGatez Bronze badge

        Re: I don't like to judge people based on their appearance...

        f*** a bunch of google - wrapping itself in righteousness while pillaging the web

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    putting tracking the movement of fellow workers and automating checks on their calendars is creepy as all hell and certainly not "do no evil"

    C'mon, this is obviously part of "legally protected labor organizing" activities...

    1. Albatross! Al-Ba-Tross!

      You, and others, are assuming that the snooping actually occurred.

      1. doublelayer Silver badge

        That is true. We should go with what we know, and honestly state when we don't know something. In this case, we know the following:

        1. The people concerned were definitely trying to organize other employees for collective action, and Google didn't like it.

        2. The people concerned definitely put alerts on others' calendars. We know this because both sides admit it. The people doing that didn't claim they hadn't done it; they claimed that it was acceptable.

        We don't know the following:

        3. We don't know if the people concerned actually leaked information about the people whose calendars they accessed. Google says they did, they said they didn't. At most one of them can be right.

        4. We don't know what Google's real reason for firing these people was. It's possible it had nothing to do with the spying and that's just the publicly-announced reason. It's also possible that Google did consider that the primary reason.

        Given this, we can still express opinions and be justified in doing so about items one and two. These points are not contested. It's when we get further down the list that assumptions creep in. So far, I think most discussions are about those points we know to be true.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Whatever actually occurred

        It would seem that Google has tools in place that enables employees to track each other. Who'd a thunk?

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Whatever actually occurred

          Which of course gives one cause to wonder what level of management one must rise to in order to be allowed to be on the "do not track" list ... The working do not track list, that is.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There are ways to do things...

    If you think your company is acting illegally, there are whistle blowing procedures.

    If you just don't like what you're company does, leave.

    If you think your company's treatment of employees is illegal, there are whistle blowing procedures.

    If you just don't like how your company treats employees, leave.

    Organising creepy stalking of employees and disruption of business that you consider "not woke enough", that gets you fired.

    All of that is doubly true for a young, fortunate, skilled up, silicon valley tech type.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: There are ways to do things...

      Exactly right. Anonymous because I know something about it.

  6. jake Silver badge

    Out o'curiosity ...

    ... how many hours per week were the fired four spending on their pet "save the people" project while ostensibly at work? Were they on the clock, getting paid by go ogle to bad-mouth go ogle? And did their real jobs ... you know, the ones that go ogle hired them to do ... suffer as a result? And now they are whining for getting fired for not doing their actual job?

    Cry me a fucking river.

    (Please note: I'm not a fan of go ogle, not by a long shot.)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Out o'curiosity ...

      Please note: I'm not a fan of ...

      I know. No one likes to be ogle at.

      /coat

  7. bombastic bob Silver badge
    Trollface

    Live by 'the left', DIE by 'the left'

    I can't help but think that Google is basically reaping what they've sown...

    a) employees misuse company resources to spy on other people (in this case other employees)

    b) they work for a company that SPIES ON PEOPLE

    c) employees are (allegedly) ALSO labor union organizers

    d) Google's politics are most definitely left of center, in line with things LIKE labor unions

    etc.

    bottom line, they FIRE these employees who are (allegedly) SPYING on other employees, the same *KINDS* of thing Google does to its "customers" (aka US), as well as (apparently) participating in "the CANCEL Culture", something that Google (apparently) REGULARLY does on places like Youtube [aka 'shadow banning' and outright cancellation of content and/or accounts], based on political reasons, etc..

    and OH, they JUST happen to be 'union organizers' too! (or at least that's what they apparently claim)

    Hypocrisy knows NO bounds, I guess... [where's the 'popcorn' icon?]

    1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: Live by 'the left', DIE by 'the left'

      Hypocrisy knows NO bounds

      I defer to your obvious expertise.

  8. iron Silver badge

    > The company’s code of conduct states unequivocally: ‘Don’t be evil

    Seems these idjits didn't get the memo correcting that policy, it is now: Do Evil.

    I wonder what part of not being evil they think is covered by stalking your fellow coworkers and disrupting other departments? From previous articles I've read they are guilty as hell and were correctly fired.

  9. SundogUK Silver badge

    Can't both sides lose?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Their problem is they have conflated dozens of issues. Wanting a union is one thing, wanting the company to cease all work for the US govt is something else and unrelated. It’s not at all clear that wanting one gives you automatic cover for anything else you want.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yeah, it seems they thought that any activism counted as protected labor organizing. Or maybe they thought that being involved in labor organizing automatically shielded them from being fired for any reason.

      But I'll be following the NLRB complaint with great interest.

  11. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip

    'if you see something that you think isn’t right — speak up!’ And we did'

    “Google didn’t respond by honoring its values, or abiding by the law. It responded like a large corporation more interested in revenue growth than in ensuring worker rights and ethical conduct.”

    No shit. Surprised they're not old enough to know better.

    Guide to whistle blowing: if initially raising concerns through the normal channels is being ignored or receiving pushback and you feel it's an important issue that needs to be whistle blown *do it anonymously*. Do not use the internal procedures where you can be targeted. This applies both to the private sector, and to the public sector (including the NHS, several people have had their careers ruined for whistle blowing).

    1. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: 'if you see something that you think isn’t right — speak up!’ And we did'

      Good point. However, I think most types of unethical or illegal conduct would be difficult to explain without making it clear who you are. Fortunately, I have never had to report such conduct. I hope I don't find any in the future either.

  12. James 47

    Creepy morons. Google is a safer place with them gone.

  13. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

    Mass-produced

    Why do those 3 all look the same?

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Mass-produced

      They don't look all the same. Not at all. In fact, when I first saw that photo, I thought "Phineas, Franklin & Freddy" ...

      1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Mass-produced

        *google*

        good lord...

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