Another Fired Google Employee Claims They Were Targeted for Labor Organizing

Kathryn Spiers says she was fired after calling attention to Google’s contract with a ‘union busting’ labor relations firm

Sarah Emerson
OneZero
Published in
3 min readDec 17, 2019

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Credit: NurPhoto/Getty Images

SSeveral weeks after Google terminated four workers for allegedly violating its policies around accessing internal documents, the technology giant has fired another employee who participated in workplace organizing.

The employee, Kathryn Spiers, wrote in a Medium post on Tuesday that she was fired from Google’s Platform Security team on Friday for calling attention to its contract with “union busting” labor relations firm IRI Consultants.

Spiers, who worked at Google’s Sunnyvale, California office for nearly two years, built a pop-up window that, when Googlers visited IRI’s website, would appear on their screens with a message that said they had a “right to participate in protected concerted activities.” The message directed Googlers to employee guidelines that the company was required to post after a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) settlement in September.

Spiers also filed a NLRB charge against Google, claiming unlawful termination. OneZero reviewed the filing, which asserts that Google attempted “to quell Spiers and other employees from asserting their right to engage in concerted protected activities.”

Earlier this month, four other terminated Google employees — Rebecca Rivers, Laurence Berland, Paul Duke, and Sophie Waldman — also filed NLRB charges, claiming they were fired as a result of their organizing activity. Rivers and Berland were both catalysts of a November workers’ rights protest at the company’s San Francisco office. All four former employees plus Spiers are being represented by Laurie M. Burgess, an attorney at Messing Adam & Jasmine LLP. Burgess did not immediately respond to OneZero’s request for comment.

“They were trying to trick and coerce me into admitting something I didn’t do.”

Spiers told OneZero she was questioned by a Google investigations team for three weeks after she created the pop-up, including at meetings with Google’s director of global investigations…

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Sarah Emerson
OneZero

Staff writer at OneZero covering social platforms, internet communities, and the spread of misinformation online. Previously: VICE