Google worker says she was fifth fired for organizing activity, files NLRB complaint

Google says she committed 'an unacceptable breach'

An ex-Google employee claims she is the fifth person the corporation has unfairly terminated in recent weeks and said Tuesday she has filed an Unfair Labor Practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board.

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"The company is too powerful and there [sic] must be held accountable," Kathryn Spiers wrote in a Medium post Tuesday. "As long as the company can treat me this way they can treat anyone this way. Workers need a voice in the company."

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Both Spiers and the "Thanksgiving Four," as four employees fired during Thanksgiving week have been called, claim they were fired to deter other Google employees from pushing back against workplace practices.

Spiers worked on the platform security team. She said she was terminated for creating a notification that popped up whenever her coworkers visited the community guidelines policy or the website of IRI Consultants, which she characterized as a "union-busting" firm hired by Google.

"Googlers have the right to participate in protected concerted activities," the notification said according to Spiers.

Google confirmed it terminated an employee but would not confirm the employee was Spiers. A Google spokesperson referred FOX Business to an email sent by Royal Hansen, vice president of Technical Infrastructure Security and Privacy.

People walk by the Google office building on Ninth Avenue in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

"[Spiers] misused a security and privacy tool to create a pop-up that was neither about security nor privacy. She did that without authorization from her team or the Security and Privacy Policy Notifier team, and without a business justification. And she used an emergency rapid push to do it," Hansen wrote.

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"I want to be very clear: the issue was not that the messaging had to do with the NLRB notice or workers' rights," Hansen continued. "The decision would have been the same had the pop-up message been on any other subject. As you know, we trust our employees to properly exercise their privileged access to our internal tools and systems. The decision to abuse the access she had as a Security Engineer was an unacceptable breach of a trusted responsibility."

Spiers' Twitter bio describes the two-year Google employee as a "queer hacker." Spiers tweeted that she was on administrative leave in late November.

Meanwhile, the search engine giant is reportedly coming under increased scrutiny for potential anticompetitive practices as regulators zero in on the power of the country's largest technology companies.

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