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Google Taken To Court For ‘Don’t Be Evil’ Motto

Google will be forced to stand behind the inherent meaning of its “don’t be evil” creed in court, as three former software engineers are using the motto to show they were unfairly sacked by the company.

The suit, filed in Santa Clara County Superior Court this week, claims that Google fired the three engineers in 2019 for protesting Google’s involvement with Customs and Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs enforcement during the Trump Administration.

The former engineers filed their lawsuit in Santa Clara County Superior Court this week claiming the search giant fired them in 2019 in response to their activism around Google’s involvement with Customs and Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs enforcement during the Trump Administration.

Prior to their firings, the engineers had organised fellow employees to speak out against the immigration policies and released a petition signed by 1495 Googlers as well as 94 other supporters calling for an end to Google’s involvement with practices they viewed as unethical. Google, they argued, was doing the evil thing.

“In working with CBP, ICE, or ORR, Google would be trading its integrity for a bit of profit, and joining a shameful lineage,” reads a petition organised by the engineers, and signed by close to 1,500 employees.

“It is unconscionable that Google, or any other tech company, would support agencies engaged in caging and torturing vulnerable people.”

The engineers claim that Google’s own “don’t be evil” clause, including in a code of conduct employees have to sign, means that had a contractual obligation to protest any “evil” activity, therefore meaning Google fired them unjustly.

It’s an interesting case, and one that will have serious ramifications in the plaintiffs can prove this is more than a slogan, but a binding agreement.

The suit states the engineers “believed that by agreeing to work with Google, their labour would not be used to produce products or services that would facilitate unethical, inhumane, or ‘evil’ conduct.”

The contact specifically states: “And if you have a question or ever think that one of your fellow Googlers or the company as a whole may be falling short of our commitment, don’t be silent.”

 



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