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Employee Says Google Fired Her For Notifying Colleagues About Their Labor Rights

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Chris White Tech Reporter
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A former Google employee is accusing the tech company of firing her for notifying her fellow colleagues about their right to organize.

Kathryn Spiers said in a Medium post Tuesday that the Silicon Valley giant terminated her after she created a tool letting her fellow employees know about their rights. Google fired four employees in November for organizing, according to media reports.

“So when I heard that Google had hired a union busting firm and started illegally retaliating against my coworkers, I decided to make sure that my coworkers knew about the posting,” she wrote. (RELATED: Big Labor Is Unionizing Thousands More In Silicon Valley)

Spiers added: “I created a little notification, only a few lines of code, that pops up in the corner of the browser whenever my coworkers visited the union busters’ website or the community guidelines policy.”

The notification read: “Googlers have the right to participate in protected concerted activities.”

The logos of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google are seen in a combination photo from Reuters files. REUTERS/File Photo

Google executive Royal Hansen explained the company’s decision.

“She misused a security and privacy tool to create a pop-up that was neither about security nor privacy,” Hansen wrote. “She did that without authorization from her team or the Security and Privacy Policy Notifier team, and without a business justification.”

The Silicon Valley giant fired four workers in November who were involved in organizing. Google said employees were fired after accessing documents without authorization, but they say these charges are trumped up. The National Labor Relations Board is investigating the matter.

Google and Facebook use subcontractors to fill roles such as cafeteria workers, security guards, maintenance workers and coders. Subcontractors make less money and receive fewer benefits and perks than company staff. The dichotomy has created a working environment ripe for union promises to attract a flood of members.

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