Four workers fired from Google last week are planning to file a federal labor complaint against the company, claiming it unfairly retaliated against them for organizing workers around social causes. The former employees said Tuesday they are preparing to file unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board this week. All four were fired Nov. 25 for what Google said were violations of its data security policy, the AP reports. Company officials wrote in a memo—without confirming the employees’ names—that the four were “searching for, accessing, and distributing business information outside the scope of their jobs.” But the four workers—Laurence Berland, Sophie Waldman, Rebecca Rivers and Paul Duke—say they believe they did not violate company policies and claim that Google is using the alleged violations as an excuse to terminate them for labor activity.
Waldman and Duke helped create a petition earlier this year that called for Google to refrain from bidding on a cloud computing contract with US Customs and Border Patrol. Rivers and Berland also helped spread the petition, which nearly 1,500 employees signed, and Berland has been involved in organizing other campaigns at the company, including those involving LGBTQ rights. A few hundred people attended a rally at Google’s San Francisco office in November to call for Rivers’ and Berland’s reinstatement. Google disputes that they fired the employees for organizing activity. “No one has been dismissed for raising concerns or debating the company’s activities,” the company said in a statement. The four fired workers are working with lawyers and say the complaint will address retaliation concerns and will likely take issue broadly with Google’s recent policy changes and alleged crackdowns against employee organizing. Google reached a separate settlement with the NLRB in September over employees’ ability to speak out about workplace issues. (See more here.)