May 29, 2024

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Google Fires Employees Protesting Against an Israeli Business Deal

Google has terminated the employment of 28 employees who participated in a sit-in protest against the company’s $1.2 billion agreement with Israel. The dismissals come after a series of events where workers, some wearing traditional Arab headscarves, staged demonstrations at Google’s offices in California and New York City.

On April 16, Google employees advocating for an end to business ties with the Israeli government occupied the office of Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian in California, resulting in arrests. The protesters demanded that Google cease its dealings with the Israeli government and military. Following an internal investigation, these employees were let go on Wednesday, as confirmed in a memo by Chris Rackow, Google’s vice president of worldwide security.

According to Rackow, the protesters engaged in disruptive behaviour, including occupying office spaces, defacing property, and obstructing the work of other employees, which led to their termination. The memo emphasised that such conduct was unacceptable and created a hostile environment for colleagues.

The “No Tech for Apartheid” movement, which aimed to pressure Alphabet Inc., Google’s parent company, into ending its involvement in projects perceived to support Israel’s actions in Gaza, prompted the sit-in protests. While it is unclear if all nine arrested employees were fired, Google had previously placed them on administrative leave and restricted their access to internal systems.

Rackow reiterated Google’s commitment to maintaining a respectful workplace environment and enforcing policies against harassment, discrimination, and disruptive behavior. He stated that the company will continue to investigate any further instances of misconduct and take appropriate action.

Five employees were arrested for trespassing during a separate protest against Google’s participation in “Project Nimbus,” a cloud service project for the Israeli government, including the military. They were released later, with the protest highlighting ongoing tensions within Google over its business dealings with Israel.