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Termination of Google Employees Following In-Office Protests

On April 16, 2024, Google employees engaged in protests at company offices, including locations in New York City and Sunnyvale, California. The protests centered on Google’s cloud computing deals with Israel. According to activist group No Tech for Apartheid, which represents the former employees, Google subsequently terminated the employment of over 50 individuals. This figure reportedly includes more than 20 employees dismissed on April 22nd.

The terminations follow the arrest of nine employees during the April 16th protests. Google maintains that the dismissed employees were directly involved in disruptive activities that interfered with work at company facilities. The company emphasizes that all terminations were based on confirmed participation in disruptive actions.

No Tech for Apartheid’s Response

No Tech for Apartheid disputes Google’s characterization of the events, contending that the terminations included non-participating bystanders. The group views the dismissals as an aggressive retaliation against protestors.

Context of the Protests

The employee protests emerged in response to the recent Israeli incursion into Gaza and the ensuing humanitarian crisis. This action was a response to a Hamas attack on Israel in October 2023 that resulted in significant casualties.

Cloud Computing Contract Dispute

No Tech for Apartheid expresses concern about a $1.2 billion cloud computing contract, known as Project Nimbus, awarded to Google and Amazon in 2021. The group cites reports suggesting the project may provide the Israeli Ministry of Defense with access to the cloud infrastructure.

Google maintains that the contract is exclusively for civilian use. The company emphasizes that the project adheres to Google’s Terms of Service and Acceptable Use Policy and is not intended for military or intelligence-related purposes.

Google CEO’s Statement

In an April 18th blog post, Google CEO Sundar Pichai addressed the employee protests. While acknowledging the company’s culture of open discussion, Pichai emphasized that Google is a workplace with established policies and expectations. He condemned actions that disrupt coworkers, promote personal agendas, or politicize the work environment. Pichai stressed the importance of maintaining focus on the company’s goals.

Background on Google Employee Dis dismissals

This incident is not the first time Google has terminated employees following protests. In 2020, a prominent artificial intelligence researcher was dismissed for criticizing the company’s diversity initiatives. Additionally, Google Cloud recently fired an engineer who disrupted a speech by the managing director of Google’s Israel business.

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