Fired employees sue Google for breaching 'Don't be evil' contract

Lawsuit is part of a protracted legal battle with tech giant, which claims the trio leaked confidential information to the media

Fired employees sue Google for breaching 'Don't be evil' contract

Three fired employees are suing Google for violating its famous “Don’t be Evil” code of conduct.

The motto was part of Google’s official code of conduct - “Remember… don’t be evil, and if you see something that you think isn’t right – speak up!” - which employees were required to follow as part of their employment contract. When the company adopted Alphabet as its new name in 2015, Google slowly digressed from its mantra. By 2018, Google has backpedalled on “Don’t Be Evil” and reassigned it to the very end of the code of conduct.

The lawsuit that Rebecca Rivers, Paul Duke, and Sophie Waldman filed is part of their prolonged legal battle against Google which, in turn, claim the employees leaked confidential data to the press. The three former workers allegedly went into “systematic searches” for information “outside the scope of their job”.  They were simultaneously fired on November 25, 2019, without being notified of any violation that they committed against the company’s “data security policy”.

Read more: Google staff to CEO: We deserve environment free from abuse

Google allegedly fired the software engineers for speaking out against the selling of cloud computing software to Customs and order Protection (CBP). The former employees are accused of disseminating a company-wide petition that called for Google to deny collaborations with Customs Enforcement (ICE) or CBP, which was separating children from their parents and caging migrants during Trump’s presidency. The terminated engineers deemed the ensuing agreement “evil”, in contradiction to Google’s policy.

Coincidentally, the lawsuit comes during a surge of organizations of white-collar tech workers at big tech companies like Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Netflix, and Facebook who are rallying against sexual harassment, misinformation, contracts with oil and gas companies, and other ethical issues. Rivers, Waldman, and Duke also have a pending National Labor Relations Board lawsuit against Google for its alleged termination of the same three employees in 2019 for their participation in labor organizing activity, under the protection of the National Labor Relations.

Google has yet to respond to requests for comment on this issue.

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