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posted by martyb on Thursday December 02 2021, @12:10PM   Printer-friendly
from the chaotic-neutral dept.

Lawsuit: Google employees were fired for upholding “Don’t be evil” code:

Three former Google software engineers who sued the company yesterday claim they were fired for following Google's famous "Don't be evil" mantra.

"Google terminated each plaintiffs' employment with it for adhering to the directive 'Don't be evil' and calling out activity by Google that they each believed betrayed that directive," according to the complaint filed in Santa Clara County Superior Court by Rebecca Rivers, Sophie Waldman, and Paul Duke. The ex-employees say Google falsely blamed them for a data leak after they circulated an internal petition.

The lawsuit notes that the Google Code of Conduct "that each full-time Google employee is required to sign as a condition of employment" specifically instructs them not to be evil. The ex-employees say they tried to uphold the "Don't be evil" policy in August 2019 by circulating a petition "requesting that Google affirm that it would not collaborate with CBP [US Customs and Border Protection] or ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] with respect to enforcement of the Trump border control policies."

"[E]ach plaintiff protested Google's engagement in supporting BCP policies that resulted in separation of families and 'caging' of immigrants who were seeking asylum in the United States," the complaint said.

Google's firings of Rivers, Waldman, and Duke are also part of an ongoing case in which the National Labor Relations Board filed a complaint against Google.

Previously:
(2018-10-13) Google Leak: The Good Censor
(2018-09-14) "Senior Google Scientist" Resigns over Chinese Search Engine Censorship Project
(2018-05-19) "Don't be Evil" Disappearing From Google's Code of Conduct


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  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by shrewdsheep on Thursday December 02 2021, @01:44PM (12 children)

    by shrewdsheep (5215) on Thursday December 02 2021, @01:44PM (#1201470)

    "Don't be evil" was abandoned years ago. It is incompatible with a shareholder driven company.

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  • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 02 2021, @01:52PM (3 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 02 2021, @01:52PM (#1201473)

    When did Mission/Vision Statements become legally binding?

    • (Score: 5, Informative) by mhajicek on Thursday December 02 2021, @03:11PM (2 children)

      by mhajicek (51) on Thursday December 02 2021, @03:11PM (#1201515)

      When they're in an employment contract.

      --
      The spacelike surfaces of time foliations can have a cusp at the surface of discontinuity. - P. Hajicek
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 02 2021, @03:29PM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 02 2021, @03:29PM (#1201521)

        This.

        Normally, they wouldn't be. But someone was dumb enough to put it in writing as part of a formal contract.

        • (Score: 3, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 02 2021, @07:06PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 02 2021, @07:06PM (#1201593)

          when virtue signaling goes wrong

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by JoeMerchant on Thursday December 02 2021, @02:09PM (6 children)

    by JoeMerchant (3937) Subscriber Badge on Thursday December 02 2021, @02:09PM (#1201486)

    "Don't be evil" was never an enforceable concept. Evil is not a legally defined, nor definable term.

    --
    Україна досі не є частиною Росії.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 02 2021, @02:52PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 02 2021, @02:52PM (#1201504)

      > Evil is not a legally defined, nor definable term.

      Agreed. But I know evil when I see it!

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 02 2021, @04:46PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 02 2021, @04:46PM (#1201549)

      I think that if they were grinding the migrants up for dogfood, that would probably qualify, but there's so much wrong with a tech company doing that, that it wouldn't come down to a contract term in an employment contract.

    • (Score: 2) by DeathMonkey on Thursday December 02 2021, @06:29PM (1 child)

      by DeathMonkey (1380) on Thursday December 02 2021, @06:29PM (#1201582) Journal

      A lot of people would consider non-enforcement of the President's policies to be evil. Should they also be spending their work hours doing the exact opposite of what the engineers in question were doing?

      • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Thursday December 02 2021, @08:28PM

        by JoeMerchant (3937) Subscriber Badge on Thursday December 02 2021, @08:28PM (#1201618)

        A lot of people would consider non-enforcement of the President's policies to be evil.

        That's the problem right there... when 49% of people consider something evil, is it still evil? How about 4.9%? Where does it stop?

        --
        Україна досі не є частиною Росії.
    • (Score: 2) by Mykl on Thursday December 02 2021, @11:42PM (1 child)

      by Mykl (1112) on Thursday December 02 2021, @11:42PM (#1201685)

      Evil is not a legally defined, nor definable term

      Oh yeah? Well how does Detect Evil [dndbeyond.com] work then?

      • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Friday December 03 2021, @12:34AM

        by JoeMerchant (3937) Subscriber Badge on Friday December 03 2021, @12:34AM (#1201692)

        Fantasy land. The DM knows evil when he creates it.

        --
        Україна досі не є частиною Росії.
  • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 02 2021, @02:44PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 02 2021, @02:44PM (#1201499)

    Shareholder driven company?
    Try any company aiming for big growth, no matter the ownership structure.