The Alphabet Workers Union launched a campaign on Tuesday to convince Google to allow employees to use their preferred names on ID badges.
The change comes after Phares Lee, a transgender man employed by security subcontracting firm G4S who works at a Google data center in South Carolina, requested that his deadname be removed from his badge and was denied.
During his initial interview with G4S, Lee revealed that he was transgender. “I was assured that [Google] was inclusive, but when I inquired about a badge in my preferred name, I was told that my badge had to reflect my legal name,” he says in an interview with The Verge.
“When I arrived on-site and was given the badge with my deceased name, I noticed that there were many people on site, both cis and transgender, whose badges did not reflect their legal names.”
Lee’s experience echoes a growing perception among Google’s contract workforce that TVCs (temporary, vendor, and contract employees) do not have the same rights and benefits as full-time Google employees.
Google ended a long-standing policy that required employees to settle workplace disputes through private arbitration with the company in 2019.
The change, however, did not apply to Google’s third-party contractors. “Contracting companies, such as G4S, are permitted to impose rules on their employees that directly contradict [Google’s] commitment to inclusion,” Lee explains.
Lee claims he was the only transgender security officer at the data center when he arrived. In an attempt to connect with other LGBTQ people, he attempted to join one of Google’s employee resource groups for underrepresented communities.
According to him, G4S management informed him that these groups were a “privilege” to which contractors were not entitled.
The Alphabet Workers Union is now circulating a petition requesting that Google and G4S implement a chosen name policy for TVCs and full-time employees.
According to the letter, the policy should ensure that “publicly displayed names reflect a chosen name where it differs from their legal name; allows pronoun stickers to be displayed on name badges; and protects the right to privacy of dead names.”
In addition, the union wants Google and G4S to allow contractors to participate in employee resource groups.
There are currently 165 signatures on the petition.