Google employee is suing the company

Dec 24, 2016, 00:31

A class action lawsuit filed by a California labor law firm with the state court in San Francisco refers to the Google employee as John Doe and alleges that Google's policies violate labor laws, which permit employees to protect themselves by sharing information with outsiders and the press.

The lawsuit also acknowledges that Google's guidelines state that nothing in them "is meant to limit employees' rights to discuss with other employees the terms, wages, and working conditions of their employment, or communicate with a government agency regarding violations of the law".

A spokesperson for Mountain View, California-based Google, a unit of Alphabet, said in a statement that the claims were "baseless" and said the agreements were created to protect sensitive business information and not to bar employees from discussing working conditions.

"In addition to requiring Googlers to keep all information about Google confidential, Google places additional onerous restrictions on Googlers' freedom to speak", it continues.

These concerns stem from Google's confidentiality agreement, where confidential information is defined as "without limitation, any information in any form that relates to Google or Google's business that is not generally known". A complaint to the US National Labor Relations Board in June raised similar issues, notes The Information.

The complaint also indicates that company policy prohibits whistleblowing.

A Google product manager has filed a lawsuit against the company, accusing Google of engaging in illegal confidentiality agreements, practices, and policies. He claims Google personnel are prohibited from talking internally about any illegal conduct they may have witnessed or "dangerous product defects", so it can't be used against the company in legal discovery. The Google worker says that being identified could harm his reputation at the company and his future job prospects. Thus, the tech behemoth is now being sued by an anonymous employee for allegedly violating the California labor laws due to its stringent confiedntiality policies.

He also mentioned that no matter if the products have problems; the employees are not allowed to talk about them.

"The Stopleaks program is managed through an internal website that includes a Chrome extension to facilitate the reporting of alleged leaks on the internet" the filing revealed.

The employee says in his complaint that their "internal spying program" encourages employees to report their coworkers if they believe that the person is leaking information to the press.

Google spokesperson says the lawsuit is without merit.

If found guilty of all 12 violations in the lawsuit, Google could be fined up to $3.8 billion, according to calculations made by The Information, who first uncovered the lawsuit. So what exactly is the employee alleging that Google did?

Confidentiality policies aren't uncommon in Silicon Valley.

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