Google, don’t be evil

Of all the lofty ideals in Silicon Valley, few are more famous than Google’s motto: Don’t be evil. Now, three former employees are suing the tech giant for allegedly betraying that credo.

The trio say the motto amounts to a contractual obligation, and that they were wrongly fired for organizing employees against Google’s evil doings. But Google claims the employees were fired for violating data security policies, with the situation raising questions about what being evil really means.

Don’t Be Evil, sounds like a core value which describes the way that employees should behave as they work as a team to pursue the company’s mission. If an employee doesn’t seem to embrace a core value, they might be fired and if an employee believes that the company doesn’t embrace a core value that is important to them, they can:

  • speak up and try to correct the issue or
  • make the ultimate statement and resign with this as the cause.

The idea of suing, however, is the interesting twist because it is uncommon for a company to further reinforce a core value by making it a formal part of a code of conduct. Taking it to this level opens them up to this kind of suit. I’m very interested to see how this plays out.