On Monday, a group of former Google employees sued the company, alleging that it violated their employment contracts by failing to fulfil its renowned motto “Don’t Be Evil.”
For years, Google’s motto has been “Don’t Be Evil.” After rebranding itself Alphabet in 2015, the firm abandoned the tagline, although “Don’t Be Evil” remains part of the business’s official employee code of conduct: “Remember not to be evil, and if you see something you think isn’t fair: talk!” concludes Google’s code of conduct. Employees must sign the agreement as a condition of continuing to work at Google.
Former Google employees Rebecca Rivers, Sophie Waldman, and Paul Duke filed a complaint in California state court in Santa Clara county, alleging that they were fired two years ago for fulfilling their contractual commitment to speak up if they spotted Google breaking its “don’t be evil” pledge.
Google did not respond promptly to a comment request. However, the company has previously alleged that the employees violated data security requirements, leaked “critical” information to the press, and conducted “systematic searches” for information “beyond the scope of their job.”
On the other hand, the software engineers claim they were fired for questioning Google’s decision to provide cloud computing software to Customs and Border Protection (CBP), which at the time was detaining migrants and separating parents and children. As a result, they circulated a company-wide petition requesting that Google agree to not work with CBP or ICE.
Their firings have also sparked an ongoing National Labor Relations Board investigation into whether the corporation used unfair labour practices to stifle growing worker organisation. In recent years, rank-and-file engineers and others working at tech firms have sought greater control over policies and projects. However, management has resisted keeping control.
According to the lawsuit, Google employees deemed the potential immigration duty “evil” under the company’s principles, which include “acting ethically and treating each other with respect” as well as “the highest possible levels of ethical business conduct.” As a result, the employees are suing for undisclosed monetary damages.
For nearly 20 years, Google had emphasised “don’t be evil” as a core value, including when it went public in 2004.