Google Employees Protest

Hundreds of Google employees and protesters rallied in support of colleagues they say were put on leave for political reasons

A group of roughly 200 Google employees and other protesters rallied outside of the search giant’s offices in San Francisco on Friday, demanding the company reinstate two colleagues who they say were unjustly punished for workplace organizing at the company — calling it an attack on accountability and transparency in tech.

Google has said the employees were placed on administrative leave for violating company policies about accessing sensitive internal documents and monitoring employees’ calendar events. But employees are objecting to those claims, saying the documents in question were not sensitive and that monitoring public calendar events is not breaking any corporate rules.

They accuse management of targeting the two employees put on leave, Rebecca Rivers and Laurence Berland, because of their involvement in worker activism at the company. Rivers helped put together a petition against Google’s work for US immigration enforcement agency Customs and Border Patrol (CBP), and Berland was involved with employee protests about hate speech policies on YouTube. Protesters are demanding that Rivers and Berland be reinstated at work immediately. Organizers called their suspension an “attempt to silence workers,” in an email about the rally.

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