Google really is evil, claims ex-employee lawsuit

Posted:
in General Discussion
Claiming that their treatment goes against the famous "don't be evil" clause in Google's employee code of conduct, three former employees are suing the company.

Google offices
Google offices


Google once famously had "Don't Be Evil" as its motto, but it still retains those words as a clause in the contract that employees have to sign. Now this code of conduct and those specific words are the subject of a lawsuit.

According to Vice, Rebecca Rivers, Paul Duke, and Sophie Waldman, were fired from Google within minutes of each other on November 25, 2019. Google said that the three had each leaked information, and had used "systematic searches" for information "outside the scope of their job."

However, the three ex-software engineers say that the real reason for their firing was because of their protests against the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency. At the time, the CBP was caging migrants and separating parents from children, but Google had decided to sell cloud computing software to the agency.

Rivers, Duke, and Waldman circulated a company-wide petition asking Google to not work with CBP or the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agencies.

They each claim this was specifically in line with Google's own code of conduct, which says: "if you see something you think isn't right - speak up!"

"Rivers, Waldman and Duke each engaged in activities consistent with Google's 'Don't be evil' contractual obligation," states the lawsuit as seen by Vice. "Specifically, they questioned Google management regarding its intent to enter into a contract with the Trump administration's Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and/or Office of Refugee Resettlement agencies."

The three ex-employees are already engaged in a National Labor Relations Board lawsuit. That claims Google illegally fired them for engaging in labor organizing activity.

Google has not commented publicly on the new suit.

As long ago as 2013, before it moved the "Don't Be Evil" line into a contract clause, Google was facing criticism over its alleged "evil" actions.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 42
    BeatsBeats Posts: 3,073member
    I always find it funny when knockoff Apple
    companies claim “leaked information”. Of what? The next knockoff Siri or knockoff iPad?

    Stupid. 
    magman1979p-dogMacProcat52watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 42
    All of these millennial or Gen Z snowflakes are torpedoing their careers.  They are going to wake up 10 years from now wondering how the f* everything up so bad 
    cornchipmike1bakerzdosenholmstockdlkruppwilliamlondon9secondkox2cat52watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 42
    everyone knows that Google is evil. but is that actionable in the legal system? we’ll find out. 
    magman1979narwhalbaconstangwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 42
    auxioauxio Posts: 2,487member
    I'm sure the old company motto was penned in the idealistic startup days (EDIT: indeed it was).  Once you have investors, shareholders, and a board of directors, such idealism becomes irrelevant in the face of company financials.  But that doesn't stop them from selling it to new employees (and subsequently using it to suss out potential troublemakers).
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 42
    auxioauxio Posts: 2,487member
    red oak said:
    All of these millennial or Gen Z snowflakes are torpedoing their careers.  They are going to wake up 10 years from now wondering how the f* everything up so bad 
    God forbid anyone actual cares about anything except themselves.  I'm hoping the movement towards ethical Capitalism, which there's a fair bit of support for even at the investor level these days, gains some momentum from cases like this.
    ronnelijahgmagman1979narwhalrundhvidapplguylkruppwilliamlondonbaconstangStrangeDays
  • Reply 6 of 42
    It always struck me as funny/pathetic ...'don't be evil' it is literally the lowest bar possible for 'goodness'. 
    elijahgcornchipmagman1979narwhalrundhvidapplguybaconstangp-dogradarthekatlolliver
  • Reply 7 of 42
    It always struck me as funny/pathetic ...'don't be evil' it is literally the lowest bar possible for 'goodness'. 
    And to think they can't even meet this low bar.
    mac_dogelijahgmagman1979narwhalhydrogenapplguywilliamlondonbaconstangp-dogOfer
  • Reply 8 of 42
    red oak said:
    All of these millennial or Gen Z snowflakes are torpedoing their careers.  They are going to wake up 10 years from now wondering how the f* everything up so bad 
    Their life drama is my entertainment.
    cornchipmike1cat52watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 42
    auxioauxio Posts: 2,487member
    It always struck me as funny/pathetic ...'don't be evil' it is literally the lowest bar possible for 'goodness'. 
    There's no quantifiable measurement for what defines "evil".  There are things most people would agree upon, like murder and similarly violent acts against others.  But it breaks down once you get into grey areas like this.
    tht
  • Reply 10 of 42
    "At the time, the CBP was caging migrants and separating parents from children, but Google had decided to sell cloud computing software to the agency."\

    Really? Maybe you should check facts. It started with CBP orders in Obama era. Nobody seemed to care long before 2019 or even 2016. Also as many DNA tests showed, most of those adults were not relatives and only used children for trafficking. That is why they were separated from adults for their own safety and not in cage but in well equipped children centers. The material was published when some visited those centers, but media seem to go with different political narrative skipping facts. What acting AOC in front of "cage" made impressions on people? She is a good actor too.
    elijahgcornchipmike1holmstockdwilliamlondonentropyscat52
  • Reply 11 of 42
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 2,608member
    Beats said:
    I always find it funny when knockoff Apple
    companies claim “leaked information”. Of what? The next knockoff Siri or knockoff iPad?

    Stupid. 
    What are you on about this time? So any and all leaked information is always relating to an Apple "knockoff", and nothing else leaked could have value? There is plenty of information in most companies that they would prefer not to be leaked. If something was leaked from say an oil company is that "knockoff Apple" too or is it just all worthless as it doesn't pertain to Apple?
    muthuk_vanalingamTRAG
  • Reply 12 of 42
    auxio said:
    It always struck me as funny/pathetic ...'don't be evil' it is literally the lowest bar possible for 'goodness'. 
    There's no quantifiable measurement for what defines "evil".  There are things most people would agree upon, like murder…
    Well, except it you’re white, living in the south, and kill a person of color. THAT’s where we draw the line. Apparently. 
    auxiocornchipmagman1979hydrogenapplguytdknoxbaconstangDAalsethOfer
  • Reply 13 of 42
    auxio said:
    red oak said:
    All of these millennial or Gen Z snowflakes are torpedoing their careers.  They are going to wake up 10 years from now wondering how the f* everything up so bad 
    God forbid anyone actual cares about anything except themselves.  I'm hoping the movement towards ethical Capitalism, which there's a fair bit of support for even at the investor level these days, gains some momentum from cases like this.
    Bare minimum is enough. Excessive stress and we end up in socialism. I lived in it so, do not get me started. The outcomes are terrible on human lives so, as they say about something else "good socialist is..." I am not going to finish, but you can guess. And as far as ethical Capitalism that is what Carl Marx should have done instead of his dumb pile of garbage he wrote in "Capital" and published in 1853 just after capitalist revolution took place  around the world and it did not have human face for many decades. then 20 century came with tens of millions dying form socialism of different forms starting from national socialism (Nazi) in Germany.
    edited November 2021 williamlondonTiptop33entropyscat52libertyandfree
  • Reply 14 of 42
    auxioauxio Posts: 2,487member
    auxio said:
    red oak said:
    All of these millennial or Gen Z snowflakes are torpedoing their careers.  They are going to wake up 10 years from now wondering how the f* everything up so bad 
    God forbid anyone actual cares about anything except themselves.  I'm hoping the movement towards ethical Capitalism, which there's a fair bit of support for even at the investor level these days, gains some momentum from cases like this.
    Bare minimum is enough. Excessive stress and we end up in socialism. I lived in it so, do not get me started. The outcomes are terrible on human lives so, as they say about something else "good socialist is..." I am not going to finish, but you can guess. And as far as ethical Capitalism that is what Carl Marx should have done instead of his dumb pile of garbage he wrote in "Capital" and published in 1853 just after capitalist revolution took place  around the world and it did not have human face for many decades. then 20 century came with tens of millions dying form socialism of different forms starting from national socialism (Nazi) in Germany.
    And my relatives escaped from the Ukraine to Canada in the 1930s when the Russian government annexed their farm lands (and caused Holodomor).  It doesn't mean we should go to the opposite extreme and have blind faith in Capitalism.  One can find many examples of similar human atrocities performed in the pursuit of profit (slavery being the example most close to home).  How about we truly look at the world with a critical eye and with a level of compassion for others instead of having blind belief in economic systems?
    edited November 2021 muthuk_vanalingamrundhvidthtbaconstangmknelsonradarthekatlolliverOfer
  • Reply 15 of 42
    omasouomasou Posts: 341member
    auxio said:
    red oak said:
    All of these millennial or Gen Z snowflakes are torpedoing their careers.  They are going to wake up 10 years from now wondering how the f* everything up so bad 
    God forbid anyone actual cares about anything except themselves.  I'm hoping the movement towards ethical Capitalism, which there's a fair bit of support for even at the investor level these days, gains some momentum from cases like this.
    People can care about what they want. People can do what they want. When they are in work, they need to do their job. If they don't like the company then leave and find one that aligns better w/their morals.
    edited November 2021 Tiptop33
  • Reply 16 of 42
    dewmedewme Posts: 4,308member
    Let’s not get carried away here with trying to frame this case within the larger context of social systems, e.g., capitalism vs socialism, communism, etc. Those topics are way too expansive for what’s being addressed here, which is that companies very often supply products and services to customers who use those products in ways that we may not think are ethical or moral.

    In other words, there’s nothing to be gained by trying to frame Google’s corporate policies and decisions within the scope of capitalism versus socialism. Nobody can wrap their heads around that in a meaningful way, much less in a way that can be expressed in a comment section of an Apple centric tech site. However, the question of whether employees should be able to compel the company that they work for, and are beholden to for a paycheck, to alter how and who the company sells its products and services to is actually something that those of us who’ve been employees and also have a notion of what we consider to be ethical and moral norms in our mind can wrap our head around. This is a far narrower scope and closer to our individual experience.

    The Google case is kind of subtle because they are not, for example, a DOD contractor building weapon systems or supplying arsenal for the military, i.e., a cog in the military-industrial complex. I’d assume that anyone taking a job with a company that is part of the military-industrial complex, law enforcement, intelligence, espionage, prison systems, etc., knows what and who the company they’ve signed-on with is dealing with before they accept the job. A software developer with a company like Google, maybe not so much.

    So it comes down to what you’d do in a similar position. I don’t know for certain what I would do, but I do know that I wouldn’t go on a public campaign to shame the company for not living up to my personal concerns. Every company has public messaging that is aspirational, like claiming to be a “great place to work.” You know what, some of those companies turn out to be very shitty places to work. If that bothers you, hit the road and don’t look back. Or you can press the issue and get fired. But again, making a big public stink about it isn’t going to move the needle either way, and certainly not in your favor. Like is too short. Time to move on.

    9secondkox2radarthekatgatorguy
  • Reply 17 of 42
    And as far as ethical Capitalism that is what Carl Marx should have done instead of his dumb pile of garbage he wrote in "Capital" and published in 1853 ...
    I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that a) you have never read (Karl) Marx and that b) without searching for the information you would be entirely unable to tell us the difference between Das Kapital and the Manifesto.

    And, just for future reference, I'll point out to you that Marx was very concerned with the ethics of Capitalism.
    williamlondonbaconstang
  • Reply 18 of 42
    dewme said:

    If that bothers you, hit the road and don’t look back. Or you can press the issue and get fired. But again, making a big public stink about it isn’t going to move the needle either way, and certainly not in your favor. Like is too short. Time to move on.

    Well, I am deeply grateful for Martin Luther King and the countless brave souls like him that everyday stands up and speaks their minds—challenging the status quo 🙏🏽

    —without them, development; change; optimism wouldn’t exist. Neither would individuality!
    auxiobaconstanglavanderfieldsStrangeDaysp-dogmknelsonlolliver
  • Reply 19 of 42
    Another thread dealing mostly with politics.
  • Reply 20 of 42
    auxioauxio Posts: 2,487member
    Another thread dealing mostly with politics.
    The very concern which the Google employees were trying to raise issue with is political by nature.  While delving into Eastern European political history was taking it far off track, it's definitely related to ethical Capitalism and whether doing business with organizations whose actions are ethically questionable is something worth fighting against.  We've already seen some changes in companies like Apple with attempting to eliminate companies with unethical labour practices from the supply chain.

    Dewme said:
    In other words, there’s nothing to be gained by trying to frame Google’s corporate policies and decisions within the scope of capitalism versus socialism.

    Agreed.  I certainly wasn't trying to argue that the world needs to change to socialism because of Google's decisions (as was interpreted by Macie).
    edited November 2021 williamlondonbaconstanglavanderfieldslolliver
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