Google’s tensions with employees reach a breaking point
Washington, DC (CNN Business) For years, Google was seen as the gold standard of office life. The company pushed workplace culture to new frontiers with enviable benefits such as free meals, office slides, onsite childcare and an emphasis on transparency.
But Google (GOOG) is quickly developing a very different reputation as it confronts a mounting backlash from its own employees.
Google’s internal critics have targeted a growing list of concerns in recent years, ranging from its handling of sexual misconduct allegations to its business dealings with the military.
Workers have also questioned Google over a secret project, now shuttered, to develop a search engine built to satisfy China’s censorship regime.
But the tension between employees and management appears to be reaching a breaking point. On Monday, Google dismissed several outspoken workers in an internal announcement for allegedly violating its data-security policies.
Now some employees are accusing Google of trying to suppress its critics.
“Google just fired 4 of my coworkers for daring to ask the question ‘is Google helping separate families or cage children at the border?'” tweeted Amr Gaber, a Google software engineer who has previously organized protests of the company.
“After finding openly accessible information, they alerted coworkers of the horrifying news. Yes. Google is working with [US Customs and Border Protection].”
Other Google employees who have also organized protests described the firings as an attempt to intimidate workers.
“With these firings, Google is ramping up its illegal retaliation against workers engaging in protected organizing,” they said in a statement.
One of the workers, the spokesperson said, had subscribed to other Google employees’ work calendars without their knowledge. Those employees later reported feeling violated, the spokesperson added.
But Google isn’t alone in its struggle to adapt to an increasingly activist employee base.