A group of former Google employees have
sued the technology company, alleging that it breached their employment
contracts by not honouring its famous motto “don’t be evil”. The workers are
seeking an unspecified amount of damages.

In the lawsuit filed in California state
court, former Google employees alleged that they were fired two years ago for
fulfilling their contractual obligation to speak up if they saw Google
violating its “don’t be evil” pledge, reported Reuters. 

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Google has promoted “don’t be evil” as a
core value for over 20 years, including when it went public in 2004.

The three former Google software engineers
had raised concerns at town halls and other forums inside Google about the
company potentially selling cloud technology to US immigration authorities.

The workers considered the potential
immigration work “evil” under Google’s policies, which call for “acting
honorably and treating each other with respect” and engaging in “the highest
possible standards of ethical business conduct”, according to the lawsuit. The
company’s code of conduct says workers who think the company may be falling
short of its commitment should not stay silent, the lawsuit said.

Google has said that the employees
concerned violated data security policies. The company, however, did not
immediately respond to a request for comment on the new lawsuit.

The three former employees’ firings also
have led to a National Labour Relations Board trial over whether the company
engaged in unfair practices to stem growing worker organizing.

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In 2020, the NLRB’s Republican majority at
the time used a case involving General Motors Co. to establish a new precedent
making it easier for companies to punish employees who say or do offensive
things while they’re exercising their legal rights to protest working
conditions. But the labour board’s Biden-appointed general counsel, Jennifer
Abruzzo, has signalled she wants to pursue cases challenging that Trump-era
precedent, and the Democrats — who now have a majority on the NLRB — could
use a case like Carne’s to overturn it.

Meanwhile, Alphabet Workers Union, an
affiliate of the Communications Workers of America, has focused on the
technology giant’s sprawling contract workforce. Those workers typically earn
far less and have fewer benefits than direct Google staff.