The four ex-Google employees, also known as the “Thanksgiving Four,” who were fired right before the holiday, are planning to file a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board.
“We look forward to hearing the NLRB’s findings, which we expect will confirm that Google acted unlawfully,” ex-Googlers Laurence Berland, Paul Duke, Rebecca Rivers and Sophie Waldman wrote on Medium today.
The plan is to argue that Google fired them for organizing, which is a protected activity. As the Thanksgiving Four outlined on Medium, they organized around a variety of topics, including Google’s treatment of its temporary, vendor and contractor workers, Google’s alleged retaliation against employees who organized, the company’s work with Customs and Border Protection and more.
“Google didn’t respond by honoring its values, or abiding by the law,” the four wrote on Medium. “It responded like a large corporation more interested in revenue growth than in ensuring worker rights and ethical conduct. Last week, Google fired us for engaging in protected labor organizing.”
In a statement to TechCrunch, a Google spokesperson said, “We dismissed four individuals who were engaged in intentional and often repeated violations of our longstanding data security policies, including systematically accessing and disseminating other employees’ materials and work. No one has been dismissed for raising concerns or debating the company’s activities.”
Last month, Google put Rivers and Berland on leave for allegedly violating company policies. At the time, Google said one had searched for and shared confidential documents that were not pertinent to their job, and one had looked at the individual calendars of some staffers.
Following a protest in support of the two, Rivers, Berland, Duke and Waldman were fired.
Google declined to comment but confirmed an internal note published by Bloomberg, which said Google fired a total of four employees for repeatedly violating its data-security policies.
Since the massive employee-led walkout last November, organizers say Google has tried to undermine further attempts to organize. In July, walkout co-organizer Meredith Whittaker left the company following reports of retaliation in April. Organizers of the rally say both Rivers and Berland were put on leave for “simply looking at openly shared internal information.”
The Thanksgiving Four’s terminations came shortly after The New York Times reported Google hired an anti-union firm, IRI Consultants. Google employees, who the Times kept anonymous, discovered Google’s relationship with ISI via internal calendar entries.
“Google fails to understand that workers are the ones who built the company and its most successful products,” the four wrote. “And that we can stop building them. No company — tech giant or otherwise — should be able to interfere with workers’ rights to organize for better working conditions, including ethical business practices.”
This story has been updated with a comment from Google.