Fronde at Google: dismissed employees dismissed

Laurence Berland, engineer licensed by Google, spoke at the event in San Francisco, November 22. Paresh Dave / REUTERS

The end of the culture of transparency in a company that had made its distinctive sign? Three days after the demonstration of Google employees in front of the group's offices in San Francisco, Friday, November 22, the search engine announced Monday, November 25, the dismissal of four employees for "Clear and repeated violations" procedures on data security. The group of protesting employees denounced a policy "Intimidation" to prevent employees from " get organized ".

Two redundant employees, Rebecca Rivers, an engineer at Boulder's Colorado subsidiary, and Laurence Berland, site reliability engineer (SRE) in San Francisco, had been on administrative leave for two weeks. On Friday 22, they spoke in San Francisco denouncing the conditions under which this sanction had been taken, after "Interrogation" by the service of "Global security investigations". Some 200 employees came to support them at a very unusual public event in this tech sector.

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The two engineers had linked their suspension to their activism in a company that, for a year, faces a growing challenge, whether on its internal practices (misogyny), or on its strategic choices (cooperation with the Pentagon or attempt to regain a foothold in China).

"A mortal blow" to the culture of openness and transparency

Rebecca Rivers is the employee who unearthed Google's collaboration with Donald Trump's immigration department. She was behind the August petition – signed by 1,500 employees – asking the Internet group to refuse to participate in the policy of separation of families on the Mexican border and deportation of undocumented migrants. He is accused of having consulted internal documents, contravening the new policy of circulation of information, announced in May by Google to counter leaks that have increased over the last year. "I believe everyone has the right to know how their work is used," Rebecca Rivers explained to her colleagues.

The company has faced, for a year, a growing challenge, either on its internal practices (misogyny), or on its strategic choices (cooperation with the Pentagon or attempt to regain foothold in China).


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