Google Workers Accuse Tech Giant of Using 'Brute Force Intimidation' Tactics to Silence Employees

Google workers are expected to rally outside the technology giant's San Francisco office on Friday morning to protest Google's treatment of workers who have spoken out against the company, its work culture and business ties.

The protest, which will see full-time employees, temporary workers, vendors and contractors come together outside the Google building, comes following the company's decision to fire an employee for allegedly leaking workers' personal information to the media and place two other workers on leave over their alleged access of documents unrelated to their roles.

"The company is claiming that it is for looking up calendars and documents, which is something we all do but we know that it is punishment for speaking up for themselves and others," workers organizing at Google who requested that their names be withheld, said in a statement shared with Newsweek on Thursday.

"We are demanding that Google bring these workers back to work immediately," the statement said.

One of the two Google employees who had been put on leave is Rebecca Rivers, who is expected to speak out about the treatment she has received from her superior's at Friday's rally.

Rivers, the workers said, had been involved in the creation of a petition demanding that Google cut ties with immigration enforcement agencies like the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agencies.

Before she was put on leave, she had not been publicly identified, they said. Despite that, she had been interviewed about the petition, though she was never told to "change her behavior."

Last Thursday, however, the workers said Rivers' leave was "triggered" for opening documents that did not pertain to her specific role.

Meanwhile, Laurence Berland, the other Google worker who was laid off, had previously been connected to a number of campaigns, including efforts to call on YouTube and other Google products to take responsibility for anti-LGBTQ+ content featured on their platforms.

LGBTQ+ workers within Google had petitioned San Francisco Pride to pull Google from its annual festivities earlier this year.

The action came after what the petition's creators described as "countless hours" advocating for Google to improve its policies on the treatment and depiction of LGBTQ+ people on its platforms, as well as on harassment and hate speech aimed at members of the LGBTQ+ community.

Google has faced widespread scrutiny over its internal culture, particularly after thousands of workers around the world staged walkouts over claims of sexual harassment, racism and gender inequality within the company.

Friday's rally is expected to start at around 11 a.m. outside Google's San Francisco office, with dozens of workers expected to take part, workers told Newsweek.

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The logo of the U.S. technology services company Google is displayed during the 4th edition of the Viva Technology show at Parc des Expositions Porte de Versailles on May 16, 2019 in Paris, France. Google workers are expected to protest the treatment of fired and laid off workers on Friday, November 22, 2019. (Photo by Chesnot/Getty Images) Chesnot/Getty
Google Workers Accuse Tech Giant of Using 'Brute Force Intimidation' Tactics to Silence Employees | U.S.