IT&Software

Google sued by employee who claims its confidentiality policies violate labor laws

Google sued by employee who claims its confidentiality policies violate labor laws

The employee, who wishes to remain anonymous, filed the lawsuit as John Doe. "The policies are wrong and illegal", the lawsuit claims.

Google finds itself at the receiving end of a lawsuit, a not uncommon thing for the sultan of search, only this one is comes from within. That complaint alleged that the worker was sacked for airing on Facebook grievances about the company, and that Google and Nest conducted illegal surveillance of employees via their electronic devices, to prevent workers from speaking out about workplace conditions. Doe had filed a complaint over many of these same policies.

They range from the shocking to the freakish. But, Google has numerous drafted policies which put an end to everything that the labor laws stand for.

"If you're considering sharing "confidential information" to a reporter-or to anyone externally-for the love of all that's Googley, please reconsider!" wrote Brian Katz in one e-mail to employees that's published in the lawsuit.

Another problem that was reported by the Google employee was the fact that all of its colleagues are supervised by volunteer which report them if they disclosed any type of information tied to the company.

While this all might sound pretty standard, employees are even forbidden from discussing possible legal violations with the company's legal advisors or from discussing working conditions at Google with the outside world. "The policies prohibit Googlers from speaking to the government, attorneys, or the press about wrongdoing at Google".

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Confidentiality policies aren't uncommon in Silicon Valley.

The plaintiff says the confidentiality agreements that all Google employees are required to sign essentially bar workers from saying anything about the company, even to each other. According to an employee, who alleged that Google operates an internal "spying program" on its own employees, these confidentiality policies violate California labor laws. Apparently, the tech giant has a "Stop Leaks" program in place that is managed through an internal website. This program is created to encourage employees to report suspicious behavior, which can include other employees asking questions about projects or other work details.

However, in response to the matter, a Google spokesman, stated, "We will defend this suit vigorously because it's baseless. Transparency is a huge part of our culture", he said.

On the contrary to Doe's claims, Google, a unit of Alphabet Inc, said that they were "baseless" and the agreements that employees sign are created to protect sensitive business information and nothing more. The company classifies information into "Need-to-Know", "Confidential", and "Public". In light of this, the suit alleges that Google engages in a "concerted effort to prevent both internal and external whistleblowing". In other words, Googlers are prohibited from communicating concerns about illegal conduct within Google. "It instructs employees in its training programs to do the following: "Don't send an e-mail that says 'I think we broke the law" or 'I think we violated this contract'".

In other words, it adds, staff are forbidden from speaking out about illegal conduct within the firm.

The plaintiff has not been named, instead taking on the usual John Doe nomenclature.


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