Google fires 28 employees for anti-Israel sit-ins; Pichai says ‘office not a place to debate politics’


After firing 28 people for staging anti-Israel sit-ins, Google CEO Sundar Pichai issued a 1200-word memo for the company’s staffers across the globe instructing them that the office is not a place to ‘debate politics’.

The employees had staged the protest at Google’s New York City headquarters to oppose the company’s “$1.2 billion agreement with Israel” on the “Project Nimbus” contract as part of a “No Tech for Genocide Day of Action.” Some of The protestors had also marched to the office of Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian in California. In New York, the protesting workers had organized the demonstration on the 10th floor of Google’s offices in the Chelsea section of Manhattan, while other protesters swarmed the company’s offices in Seattle. Nine of the employees who were urging Google to end business ties with the Israeli government and military were arrested.

In his sharply-worded memo, Pichai wrote that Google “is a business and not a place to act in a way that disrupts co-workers or makes them feel unsafe, to attempt to use the company as a personal platform, or to fight over disruptive issues or debate politics.” “This is too important a moment as a company for us to be distracted,” the New York Post has said in a report quoting Pichai’s memo that was sent out on April 18.

In his memo, Pichai told his employees that the workplace is not a place to “fight over disruptive issues or debate politics.” Pichai issued the statement two days after the 10-hour sit-ins at Google’s offices in New York, Seattle, and Sunnyvale, California. “When we come to work, our goal is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful,” Pichai said in his memo. “That supersedes everything else and I expect us to act with a focus that reflects that.”

“They took over office spaces, defaced our property, and physically impeded the work of other Googlers. Their behavior was unacceptable, extremely disruptive, and made co-workers feel threatened,” Chris Rackow, Google’s vice president of global security, wrote in a company-wide memo. “Behavior like this has no place in our workplace and we will not tolerate it. It clearly violates multiple policies that all employees must adhere to — including our code of conduct and policy on harassment, discrimination, retaliation, standards of conduct, and workplace concerns.”


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