Google

Rebecca Rivers addresses a Google employee rally protesting the company on Friday. She announced Monday that she had been fired from the company.

A Google software engineer at the center of an employee backlash over alleged management overreach and employee surveillance has been fired.

The employee, Rebecca Rivers, tweeted the announcement Monday. She had been put on indefinite suspension over allegations that she accessed documents not pertinent to her work at the tech giant. About 200 people showed up for a rally on Friday outside Google’s San Francisco offices to protest her suspension and that of another engineer, Laurence Berland, who is accused of improperly accessing colleagues’ internal calendars.

Google has been seeking to more tightly control what information employees discuss. This month, the company changed its all-hands meetings from weekly to monthly, and said it would only field questions in the meetings about products, rather than about work culture or personnel matters.

Rivers, a worker in Boulder, Colo., suggested at Friday’s rally that she had been targeted for her activism at the company. “Instead of listening to me or thousands of my coworkers, Google has punished me by putting me on administrative leave,” she said at the rally. “I believe everyone has a right to know what their work is being used for.”

Google didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. Rivers couldn’t immediately be reached after announcing via Twitter that her employment had been terminated.

Employees at the rally demanded that Google reinstate Rivers and Berland, who also couldn’t immediately be reached. The employees at the rally concluded the gathering with a chant: “Bring them back.”

Saturday, December 14, 2019