Google accused of violating US labour laws, spying on staff

If Google loses the case, it may have to rehire the fired employees and pay back their wages


National Labour Relations Board (NLRB) is gearing to file a complaint against Google for violating US labour laws. The multinational tech company has been accused of spying on its employees who were organising protests, interrogating them and then firing two of them.

Laurence Berland and Kathryn Spiers were fired in connection with employee activism last year. Berland was terminated because he had been reviewing the calendars of other employees. Now, NLRB is of the belief that it is against the law to have a company policy against staff members who look at the calendars of their colleagues or co-workers. Berland was gathering support against Google’s choice to work with IRI Consultants, an organisation known for its anti-union activities.

Spiers was unlawfully terminated for creating a pop-up for Google employees visiting the IRI Consultants website. She was accused of violating security policies, which adversely affected her reputation in the market. Her efforts at spreading awareness among Googlers about their right to participate in protected concerted activities, was not tolerated by the Company.

The technology firm had been criticised for preventing its workers from accessing or view each other’s calendars, unless it was for a business or official purpose. It had put a cap of 100 people on employees signing up for calendar events.

Google may be compelled to repay wages to both the concerned employees, that is, Berland and Spiers, and may even have to rehire them, if it loses the case. If it chooses not to settle, the case will be heard by an administrative judge.

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