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Google Fired Its Workers For Protesting – Can Activism Get You Fired in NJ?

by | Jun 18, 2024 | Employment Law |

Google Fired its Workers for Protesting – Can Activism Get You Fired in NJ?

One of the core constitutional rights of Americans is the freedom of speech and peaceful demonstration. Yet, a recent decision by search engine giant Google may shed some light on limitations to this right. The company fired a significant number of employees for their involvement in protests at the company’s offices. What does that mean for employers and employees in New Jersey?

If you feel that you have suffered illegal punishment as a result of protesting or related to your exercise of free speech in the workplace, contact a retaliation lawyer in NJ for immediate help and clarification as to how the law applies in your particular situation.

Google Terminates Protesting Employees

In April 2024, Google fired 28 employees who it said participated in protests against the company’s cloud computing contract with the Israeli government, a contract called Project Nimbus worth approximately $1.2 billion.

These employees protested through demonstrations and at a sit-in in Google’s offices. According to Google, the employee’s actions were disruptive. According to a statement issued by the company, “We carefully confirmed and reconfirmed that every single person whose employment was terminated was directly and definitively involved in disruption inside our buildings,” as noted by Reuters.

The workers protesting believe that Project Nimbus supports the Israeli government’s development of military tools. Google states that none of the work they are doing supports “highly sensitive, classified, or military workloads relevant to weapons or intelligence services” and notes that it works with numerous governments around the world. It states that the employees were physically preventing workers from doing their jobs, and some were trespassing during the protests. All of these actions, Google says, are direct violations of the company’s policies.

If It Is Legal for Google, What Does That Mean for You?

If you believe you have been in such a situation, your primary goal should be to seek out the help of retaliation lawyers in NJ. However, there are several factors to consider.

In this particular situation, the company believes it was in the right to fire the employees because of the violations of the employee’s conduct. They stated the employees interfered with the company’s ability to do their job.  Further, employees in a private workplace do not have the right to free speech that is offensive or disruptive to the workplace.

Understanding Your Rights Regarding Workplace Activism

Would it be legal for your New Jersey employer to terminate your employment if you voice personal concerns? In a politically charged year, this could be a concern for employees who wish to better understand their rights to free speech and protest.

The legal questions here are complex, but protections for employees are somewhat limited. Employees who engage in any type of protest that limits their employer’s ability to do its job may find that their rights are limited.

It is also important to note that New Jersey is an at-will employment state, which means the employer can terminate you for any reason it deems necessary. The freedom promised by the Constitution has limits. That is, as a private workplace, the employer has the right to terminate employment of team members that fail to do their job.

Hire a Retaliation Lawyer in NJ

If you believe your rights to protest or free speech have been violated by termination or workplace retaliation, contact Hamilton Law Firm’s retaliation lawyers in NJ. We understand the complexities of workplace activism and the fine line between protected activities and employer policies. Our experienced legal team is dedicated to defending the rights of employees and ensuring that justice is served when applicable.

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