Google Dismisses 28 Employees for Protesting Contract with Israel called Project Nimbus

Google Dismisses 28 Employees for Protesting Contract with Israel called Project Nimbus

Google dismissed 28 employees for protesting its cloud-computing contract with Israel called Project Nimbus, citing violating company policies.

Google recently terminated 28 employees who participated in protests against its cloud-computing contract with Israel, known as Project Nimbus. The employees staged sit-in protests at two of Google's offices, and some were arrested for refusing to leave Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian's office for more than eight hours. Following the arrests, Google issued an internal memo stating the company would not tolerate such behaviour.

The Verge obtained the internal memo from Chris Rackow, head of global security at Google. Rackow emphasized that the actions of the protesting employees disrupted operations, defaced company property, and threatened other staff members. As a result, the protesters were investigated, and their system access was revoked.

Rackow announced the termination of 28 employees involved in the protests. Rackow's memo added, "Following investigation, today we terminated the employment of twenty-eight employees found to be involved. We will continue to investigate and take action as needed. Behaviour like this has no place in our workplace and we will not tolerate it. It clearly violates multiple policies that all employees must adhere to — including our Code of Conduct and Policy on Harassment, Discrimination, Retaliation, Standards of Conduct, and Workplace Concerns." He reaffirmed Google's commitment to addressing disruptive behaviour with appropriate consequences.

"The overwhelming majority of our employees do the right thing," Rackow stated. He warned employees against actions and added, "The overwhelming majority of our employees do the right thing. If you're one of the few who are tempted to think we’re going to overlook conduct that violates our policies, think again. The company takes this extremely seriously, and we will continue to apply our longstanding policies to take action against disruptive behaviour — up to and including termination."

The protests were organized by the No Tech for Apartheid group, which has voiced concerns over Google's business decisions related to Project Nimbus. In response to Google's dismissal of the employees involved in the protest, the No Tech for Apartheid group said Google had not addressed their concerns over the past three years. "Google workers have the right to peacefully protest about terms and conditions of our labour. These firings were retaliatory," the group added in a post on Medium.

The reason behind the Protest

The protests stemmed from the billion-dollar AI contract, Project Nimbus, signed in 2021. Protesters believed the services provided under the contract contributed to the use of AI in the ongoing conflict in Gaza. Protesters expressed their unwillingness to continue working at Google without acknowledging and condemning Project Nimbus and its support for the Israeli government.

The protesters live-streamed their demonstration on Twitch, declaring their demands for Google to cut ties with the Israeli military and government. They also sought the company to address a perceived "health and safety crisis" among its workers.

In conclusion, Google's decision to fire the 28 employees underscores its strict stance on workplace conduct and its intolerance of disruptive protests against company policies. This incident highlights the complex interplay between corporate ethics, employee activism, and the broader implications of business decisions.

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