friday, 13 september of 2019

Google

US government orders Google to let employees speak out after months of employee activism

The US government has ordered Google to let its employees speak out about workplace issues as part of a settlement over claims that it prevents employees from going public with their concerns.

The company will tell employees that they are free to speak publicly, including to the media, about workplace diversity and pay after staff complained that they had been retaliated against for speaking out.

Employees have sought more freedom to protest policies enforced by Google's companies, including YouTube's rules on hate speech and LGBT people.

Leaders in recent walkout protests, which pressured the company to change its policies following a high-profile sexual harassment scandal, have said that they experienced consequences including demotion.

Meanwhile right-wing employees have complained that their beliefs leave them ostracised among left-leaning bosses, and have led them to lose their jobs.

Google has instituted an open culture, with message boards allowing employees across the world to talk to each other, but in recent months it has reportedly attempted to stop its workers finding information about contentious issues such as its military contracts, which have prompted widespread employee protests in recent years.

A Google spokeswoman said: "We have agreed to post a notice to our employees reminding them of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act.

"As a part of that notice, we will also remind employees of the changes we made to our workplace policies back in 2016 and 2017 that clarified those policies do not prevent employees from discussing workplace issues.

"There is absolutely no mention of political activity in the proposed settlement, and the updates we made to our Community Guidelines are completely unrelated and unaffected."

The move comes as the company paid close to €1bn (£896m) to French authorities to settle a fraud investigation. French officials have been looking into whether the company failed to declare some of its activity in the country.

A Google spokeswoman said: "The settlements comprise a €500 million payment that was ordered today by a French court, as well as €465 million in additional taxes that we had agreed to pay, and that have been substantially reflected in our prior financial results."

(Published by The Telegraph, September 13 2019)
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