Watch CBS News

Google workers fired after protesting Israeli contract file complaint with labor regulators

Google fires additional workers following protests over Israel government contract
Google fires additional workers following protests over Israel government contract 00:41

Dozens of Google workers who were fired after protests over the technology company's lucrative contract with the Israeli government on Monday filed a complaint with labor regulators in an attempt to get their jobs back.

The complaint filed late Monday with the National Labor Relations Board alleges about 50 workers were unfairly fired or placed on administrative leave earlier this month in the aftermath of employee sit-ins that occurred at Google offices in New York and Sunnyvale, California. 

Initially, a group of about 28 workers at the two locations were dismissed after sit-in protests at Google facilities on April 16. Approximately 20 more employees were fired the following week.

The protests targeted a $1.2 billion deal known as Project Nimbus that provides artificial intelligence technology to the Israeli government. The fired workers contend the system makes it easier for the Israeli government and its military to surveil Palestinians and force them off their land in Gaza.

Google has claimed Nimbus isn't being deployed in weaponry or intelligence gathering.

Google jettisoned the workers' "participation (or perceived participation) in a peaceful, non-disruptive protest that was directly and explicitly connected to their terms and conditions of work."

Some employees say many of the fired workers had not even entered the Google offices during the demonstrations. A Google spokesperson told CBS News Bay Area the terminated employees were personally and definitively involved in the disruption.

"As we indicated, we continued our investigation into the physical disruption inside our buildings on April 16, looking at additional details provided by coworkers who were physically disrupted, as well as those employees who took longer to identify because their identity was partly concealed-like by wearing a mask without their badge-while engaged in the disruption," said the spokesperson in an emailed statement. "Our investigation into these events is now concluded, and we have terminated the employment of additional employees who were found to have been directly involved in disruptive activity. To reiterate, every single one of those whose employment was terminated was personally and definitively involved in disruptive activity inside our buildings. We carefully confirmed and reconfirmed this."

The company released an additional statement to CBS News Bay Area on Wednesday, which read, ""This is a very clear case of employees disrupting and occupying work spaces, and making other employees feel threatened and unsafe. By any standard, their behavior was completely unacceptable – and widely seen as such. We carefully confirmed and reconfirmed that every single person whose employment was terminated was directly and definitively involved in disruption inside our buildings. We are confident in our position and stand by the actions we've taken."

The National Labor Relations Board didn't immediately set a timetable for reviewing the case.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.