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Google Fires Four Workers For Alleged Data-security Issues

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Google terminated four employees for allegedly violating its data-security policies amid the increasing tensions between the management and its employees.

An email sent by Google's Security and Investigations Team to all staff members described that the fired employees were engaged in accessing other employees' calendars and sharing information about them with outside sources.

Google said in its memo that "none of these individuals were fired for simply looking at documents or calendars during the ordinary course of their work. To the contrary, our thorough investigation found the individuals were involved in systematic searches for other employees' materials and work. This includes searching for, accessing, and distributing business information outside the scope of their jobs."

Software engineers Rebecca Rivers and Laurence Berland, who were put on leave by the company for illegally accessing certain documents, are among those who are fired. They had participated at a rally last Friday outside Google's San Francisco offices protesting their indefinite suspension. Rivers reportedly was accused of accessing documents not pertinent to her work at the company and Berland was accused for improperly accessing colleagues' internal calendars.

Rivers tweeted, "I was just informed by @Google that I am being terminated."

Google Walkout For Real Change, which protests sexual harassment, misconduct, and lack of transparency in the company, in a medium post stated that Google redrafted its policies, making it a fireable offense to even look at certain documents. The policy was unclear as looking at such documents is a big part of Google culture, and that the employees were not offered any meaningful guidance on how they consistently comply with this policy.

The protesters accuse that Google's policy change was setting up an excuse to retaliate against workers engaging in protected organizing, allowing the company a pretext for picking and choosing who to target. "Using this policy, Google did all it could to frame our colleagues as 'leakers,'" they said.

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