According to a settlement with the National Labour Relations Board (NLRB), Google has been required to post a list of employees’ rights. Most of the rights on this list are standard ones that have the federal government’s protection. Yet, they have been clearly spelled out for the Google workforce.
Google is required to post the list of policies at its California headquarters as well as its offices in Palo Alto.
The list states that the staff members have the right to discuss wages, hours, and working conditions with other employees, the press/media, and other third parties, and that Google will not stop its employees from exercising these rights.
This comes as a surprise because employers generally do not approve of employees discussing wage and working conditions with the press or media, leave alone outsiders. In fact, it is prohibited in most organisations.
It is reported that the NLRB suggested displaying these rights, including the right to talk to the press in the hope that things at Google will improve, especially since the Company has made headlines for all the wrong reasons.
Last year, a former employee, Kevin Cernekee had accused the Company of restricting free speech. He had alleged that he had been terminated because he had dared to express his views.
According to the list of rights, Google employees have the freedom to discuss and clarify issues pertaining to workplace diversity with the management. Google promises not to threaten workers who approach the management with diversity issues or matters related to permissible workplace behaviour.
This again, is just another point being spelt out. It is common knowledge that workers in organisations with less than 15 employees are by law allowed to clarify or discuss issues pertaining to gender, race, and other protected classes with the management, without fearing any adverse repercussions.
Proving how Google is trying to be extra cautious and clever, one point on the list reads thus: WE WILL NOT make it appear to you that we are watching out for your protected concerted activities or ask that you report other employees who are engaging in protected concerted activity regarding their wages, hours, and working conditions.
Those who have read the rights closely feel that this particular point clearly means that even though the employees may not feel they are being watched, they are actually being kept an eye on.