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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.

(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: 3, Interesting) by Phoenix666 on Thursday December 02 2021, @04:51PM

    by Phoenix666 (552) on Thursday December 02 2021, @04:51PM (#1201550) Journal

    I like the sentiment, and back when Google was a search engine started by a couple of academics who had no idea how to make money from it, it made me smile. When Google started to find its financial footing during the early days of the Dot-com, when measured against the shenanigans that many of the pump-and-dump schemes of that time were running, it seemed a reasonable guard rail against misbehavior. Later when Google began to overtake and displace Microsoft, it felt like a brake on the course the company seemed to be steering. Of course, we should all know by now that "don't be evil" was jettisoned by Alphabet some years ago, so it's a moot point.

    But the idea was always notional, and never legally enforceable. What one party says is evil the other says is benign. It was always going to be a matter of interpretation when the employees demand that management agree to their political demands. The only part of this story that surprises me a little is that the employees were fired for espousing political beliefs that the management of Google publicly supports. It's like the employees were fired for agreeing with the stances the company takes.

    Washington DC delenda est.
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