Google settles lawsuit with ex-employee who claimed firing was in retaliation for organizing

In 2019, Google parent, Alphabet Inc, terminated the employment of two software engineers, Laurence Berland and Rebecca Rivers, in a move that sparked company-wide protests and accusations of retaliation for the pair’s efforts to organize their workplace. On Wednesday the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) announced that it had approved a proposed settlement between the company and Berland.

While neither Berland’s legal council nor Alphabet could be reached for comment, Bloomberg notes that this agreement does not impact the NLRB’s continuing investigation into Alphabet’s alleged firing of other employees who protested the company’s coordination with US Customs and Border Patrol, which is currently being argued in a San Francisco courtroom. 

Per previous testimony in Berland’s case, Alphabet argued that the firings were due directed at those “who abused their privileged access to internal systems, such as our security tools or colleagues’ calendars.” Berland, in his defense, countered that “I told them that I accessed the calendars because I was concerned that our rights were being violated.”


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