Google fires 28 employees after they were arrested over anti-Israel protest - Hindustan Times

Google fires 28 employees after they were arrested over anti-Israel protest

ByAditi Srivastava
Apr 18, 2024 09:33 AM IST

Google fires 28 employees involved in protest against $1.2 billion Israel deal

Google has laid off 28 employees who participated in a sit-down protest over the company’s “$1.2 billion agreement with Israel.” The dismissals follow a series of events in which employees, some of whom wore traditional Arab headscarves, marched to the office of Google’s top cloud executive in California, while others held sit-ins at Google’s New York City headquarters.

Google employees arrested from Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian's California office.
Google employees arrested from Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian's California office.

Google terminates staff over anti-Israel protest

On April 16, Google employees who were advocating for an end to business ties with the Israeli government and military were arrested after occupying Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian's office in California. The employees demanded ceasing “business with the Israeli apartheid government and military.” These workers were let go on Wednesday after an internal probe, as stated in a company-wide memo by Chris Rackow, Google's vice president of worldwide security, according to a New York Post article.

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“They took over office spaces, defaced our property, and physically impeded the work of other Googlers,” Chris Rackow wrote in the memo obtained by The Post. The statement further read, “Their behaviour was unacceptable, extremely disruptive, and made co-workers feel threatened.”

Google employees arrested and fired for ‘No Tech For Apartheid’

The "No Tech for Apartheid" movement had workers stay in the office while protesting and demanding that Alphabet Inc. cease its involvement in what they perceived as "powering Israel's genocide of Palestinians in Gaza.” It's not clear if all nine of the arrested employees were terminated. Google had previously placed them on administrative leave and limited their access to the company's internal systems.

Also read: Google layoffs: Company announces second major round of job cuts in 2024 saying ‘change is difficult’

Rackow in his statement said, “Following an investigation, today we terminated the employment of twenty-eight employees found to be involved. We will continue to investigate and take action as needed.”

“Behavior 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 added.

Also read: RHONJ Star Siggy Flicker's stepson arrested in Capitol riot, linked to Nancy Pelosi's suite entry

What is Google’s Israel controversy?

Five Google employees were arrested for trespassing after refusing to leave the office during a protest. They were released later. A spokesperson told the outlet on Tuesday. The protest was against Google's involvement in a $1.2 billion project called "Project Nimbus" that provides cloud services to the Israeli government, including the military.

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