Google fired additional workers after last week’s protest, group says


Google fired additional workers this week, after it initially terminated 28 people who it said participated in recent protests against the company’s work in Israel.

The total number of employees terminated in the wake of the protests — which took place inside Google offices in New York and Sunnyvale, Calif. — has grown to more than 50 people, with more than 20 people ousted on Monday night, according to the No Tech for Apartheid Campaign, the advocacy group that organized the sit-ins.

Google, in a statement, confirmed that the company had cut additional workers as a result of its investigation into the protests, but did not say how many. The spokesperson said it took more time to identify some of the participants because their faces were concealed by masks and they weren’t wearing their employee badges.

“Our investigation into these events is now concluded, and we have terminated the employment of additional employees who were found to have been directly involved in disruptive activity,” the company said. “To reiterate, every single one of those whose employment was terminated was personally and definitively involved in disruptive activity inside our buildings. We carefully confirmed and reconfirmed this.”

The protest group has previously decried the firings and alleged that some of the terminated protesters didn’t participate directly in the events, a contention that Google vigorously disputed.

“Google is throwing a tantrum because the company’s executives are embarrassed about the strength workers showed at last Tuesday’s historic sit-ins, as well as their botched response to them,” No Tech for Apartheid Campaign said in a statement. “Now, the corporation is lashing out at any worker that was physically in the vicinity of the protest — including those who were not at all involved in the campaign.”

On April 16, the campaign held rallies outside of Google offices. Dozens of employees sat for hours in sit-ins the New York City and Sunnyvale locations, and nine people were arrested for trespassing.

The campaign is pushing for the company to drop its cloud computing contract with the Israeli government and military, called Project Nimbus. The group said that it will continue to demand that Google drop Project Nimbus, protect Palestinian, Arab and Muslim employees and reinstate the workers who were terminated.

After the protests and sit-ins, Google last week said it had fired the first 28 employees for violating company policy governing employee conduct and harassment.

In a blog post last week, Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai wrote that while it is important to preserve the company’s culture of open discussion, Google must maintain a professional workplace.

“[O]ur policies and expectations are clear: this is a business, and not a place to act in a way that disrupts coworkers or makes them feel unsafe, to attempt to use the company as a personal platform, or to fight over disruptive issues or debate politics,” Pichai wrote.

Protests in the tech industry have escalated in the wake of Israel’s bombardment of the Gaza Strip, which began in response to the Oct. 7 attack on Israel by Hamas-led militants in which an estimated 1,200 people were killed and about 240 taken hostage.

More than 34,000 Palestinians in Gaza have been killed in Israel’s air and ground offensive, according to Gaza health officials.

“Google pays us enough to not think too much about what they are doing, but it wasn’t worth it,” said Hasan Ibraheem, one of the fired employees, during a Monday news conference. “I wanted to support my co-workers who have been harassed for standing up against this project.”

Google has said that its technology is used to support numerous governments around the world, including Israel’s, and that the Nimbus contract is for work running on its commercial cloud network, with the Israeli government ministries agreeing to comply with Google’s terms of service and acceptable use policy.

“This work is not directed at highly sensitive, classified, or military workloads relevant to weapons or intelligence services,” Google said in a statement.

But former Google employees at the news conference questioned how the company would enforce the terms of service and called for more transparency. They also disputed the characterization that they were disrupting the work of other employees.

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