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Google’s ‘Thanksgiving Four’ present a challenge to leadership as campus activism rises

Source | | Jennifer Elias

Google leadership may consider the leaking of sensitive information by employees as the biggest threat to its culture. But the more pressing issue the company faces is a massive wave of activism that’s now turned some of its loudest critics into heroes.

After weeks of investigation, Google fired four employees on Monday, claiming they shared confidential documents and breached security. In an internal memo, the company’s security and investigations team called it a “rare” case.

News of the dismissals went viral immediately because all four employees had either organized or participated in petitions or protests against the company. At least two of them identified as LGBTQ. The group earned the label the “Thanksgiving Four” because of the timing of the firing ahead of the holiday, and employees past and present weighed in on social media with their own stories of being targeted by leadership for their activism.

Just hours after the firings were reported, Google organizers posted a blog entry titled, “Google’s Next Moonshot: Union Busting.” The post, which didn’t include the names of any authors, claimed that Google framed the employees.

“They think this will crush our efforts, but it won’t,” the post said.

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