Employees at giant tech companies are figuring out ways to exercise free speech and protest against assignments they find ethically questionable, in spite of at-will laws that could get them fired for such acts of rebellion, according to CNBC. Employees at big names such as Google, Amazon, and Microsoft are staging protests and signing petitions largely in response to government contracts requesting work they find objectionable. Some examples include facial recognition software being used by police, improved military drone technology, and technology used in immigration and customs enforcement.
Nondisclosure agreements and general fear of losing their jobs have kept workers quiet about moral gray areas when it comes to tech work in the past. The First Amendment protects free speech, preventing the government from impeding on rights of U.S. citizens. Those rights, however, do not protect people from their places of business taking action against them. Whistleblower laws offer some safeguards, but only if an employee is reporting illegal activity. They do not protect employees who are taking a stance against legal projects to which they have an ethical objection. Public dissent against the company you work for is not protected and could easily get a person fired. Continue reading