Google illegally fired two employees pushing for workplace rights, regulators say

Google illegally fired two employees who had sought to inform fellow workers about their job rights, federal labor regulators alleged this week.

In a complaint filed on Wednesday, the National Labor Relations Board charges that Alphabet-owned Google fired two workers as a way to squash further employee activism. Google “surveilled” and “interrogated” employees over their activities, the NLRB alleges, and selectively enforced workplace policies to discourage workers from organizing.

The complaint stems from an incident last year, when Google fired four workers shortly after Thanksgiving. Some of the fired employees had protested the company’s involvement with Customs and Border Protection; others objected to Google’s hiring of an anti-union consulting firm, IRI Consultants.

A fifth worker, security engineer Kathryn Spiers, who was initially suspended but then fired in December, had created a pop-up notification that reminded workers of their rights to discuss workplace issues without fear of retaliation. 

The notification appeared

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Supreme Court Could Soon Limit Employees’ Computer Access At Work

On Monday, the United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Van Buren v. United States, a criminal case about a federal antihacking law that could have far-reaching implications for workers’ rights.

The case centers around Nathan Van Buren, a former Georgia police sergeant who was convicted of felony computer fraud in violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). Van Buren was accused of extracting a $6,000 payment to run a license plate search to find out whether a strip club dancer was actually an undercover officer.

An Atlanta federal judge ruled in October 2017 that Van Buren violated the CFAA when he accessed the Georgia Crime Information Center for an improper purpose. Two years later, the Eleventh Circuit Court

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Google spied on employees and fired them for unionizing, U.S. labor board says

The U.S. National Labor Relations Board has filed a complaint against Google and its parent company Alphabet, accusing the tech juggernaut of violating labor laws.

The company was allegedly “interfering with, restraining, and coercing employees in the exercise of their rights guaranteed in Section 7 of the Act,” according to the complaint filed Tuesday.

Specifically, the NLRB case documents accuse Google of illegally spying on employees, firing several employees in retaliation for attempting to unionize, and illegally blocking employees from sharing work grievances and information with each other using general tools like calendars, email, meeting rooms, and an internal communication tool at Google called MemeGen.

The NLRB said it expects an answer from Google by Dec. 16 and the agency said it will hold a hearing on April 12, 2021, in San Francisco.

Google didn’t immediately respond to CNBC’s requests for comment.

The NLRB’s conclusion comes a year after CNBC

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Google is allowing employees back on campus for outdoor-only meetings because remote isn’t always enough



a group of people that are standing in the grass: AMY OSBORNE/AFP via Getty Images


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AMY OSBORNE/AFP via Getty Images

  • Google is holding face-to-face gatherings outdoors on lawns and other parts of its campuses as it gets ready to welcome staff back to offices next year, a spokesperson told CNBC.  
  • The news followed Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai’s September announcement that the company was making changes to its physical spaces to enable a hybrid model of work.
  • “We firmly believe that in-person, being together, having that sense of community, is super important for whenever you have to solve hard problems, you have to create something new,” said Pichai during an interview for Time 100. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Google is testing socially distanced outdoor meetings on company campuses, preparing to get employees back to offices next year.

The socially-distanced meetings, called “onsite off-site”, are held on lawns and other parts of the tech giant campuses where COVID-19 restrictions

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One of Google’s leading AI researchers says she’s been fired in retaliation for an email to other employees



Tiffany Grant wearing glasses: Timnit Gebru, co-lead of Google's ethical artificial intelligence team Kimberly White/Getty Images


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Timnit Gebru, co-lead of Google’s ethical artificial intelligence team Kimberly White/Getty Images

  • Timnit Gebru, technical co-lead of Google’s ethical artificial intelligence team, said in a series of tweets on Wednesday that she had been fired by the tech giant.
  • She claims she was terminated over an email sent to an internal company group. Gebru’s reports were told she offered her resignation, but Gebru says management jumped the gun.
  • Gebru was told that aspects of an email she sent to employees were “inconsistent with the expectations of a Google manager.”
  • Are you a current or former Googler with more to share? You can contact this reporter securely using the encrypted messaging app Signal (+1-628-228-1836) or encrypted email ([email protected]). Reach out using a nonwork device.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Timnit Gebru, technical co-lead of Google ethical artificial intelligence team, said in a series of

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US Labor Board Challenges Google Moves Against Activist Employees

Google has been given two weeks to respond to a US labor board complaint accusing the internet giant of using surveillance, interrogation and other tactics to spy on activist employees.

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) complaint filed late Wednesday stemmed from the dismissal a year ago of a quartet of employees dubbed the “Thanksgiving Four.”

The workers sought a federal investigation into their dismissal, alleging they were sacked in retaliation for their labor organizing efforts, while Google maintained that the employees had violated data security policies.

A copy of the NLRB complaint seen by AFP contended that Google “surveilled” employees by peeking at slides being preparing in support of unionizing workers.

Google also “interrogated employees about protected activities” and threatened reprisals for venturing outside official company channels for handling complaints on such matters as workplace conduct, according to the complaint.

In addition, Google selectively applied rules to workers who

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U.S. Labor Board accuses Google of spying on employees, discouraging worker organization, and retaliation

  • The U.S. National Labor Relations Board filed a complaint against Google, alleging the company illegally terminated and surveilled employees.
  • The agency also accuses the company of illegally blocking employees from sharing work grievances and information with each other using general tools like calendars, email and meeting rooms, and an internal communication tool at Google called MemeGen.



a group of people standing in front of a crowd: Google employees at the tech giant's headquarters in Mountain View, California, walk off the job to protest the company's handling of sexual misconduct claims.


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Google employees at the tech giant’s headquarters in Mountain View, California, walk off the job to protest the company’s handling of sexual misconduct claims.

The U.S. National Labor Relations Board has filed a complaint against Google and its parent company Alphabet, accusing the tech juggernaut of violating labor laws.

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The company was allegedly “interfering with, restraining, and coercing employees in the exercise of their rights guaranteed in Section 7 of the Act,” according to the complaint filed Tuesday.

Specifically, the NLRB case documents accuse Google of illegally spying

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Federal Labor Agency Says Google Wrongly Fired 2 Employees

A federal agency said on Wednesday that Google had most likely violated labor law when it fired two employees who were involved in labor organizing, a spokesman for the agency said.

The pair were fired in November last year as Google grappled with a vocal contingent of workers who protested its handling of sexual harassment and its work with the Defense Department and federal border agencies.

Although Google fired several employees who participated in the protests, the complaint on Wednesday from the National Labor Relations Board said only the rights of Laurence Berland and Kathryn Spiers had been violated.

Mr. Berland had researched Google’s relationship with a firm known for its union-busting activity, and Ms. Spiers had created a digital notice that informed co-workers of their rights to organize. In a memo at the time, Google said the employees had been dismissed “for clear and repeated violations of our data

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Two former Google employees say the US labor board will charge the company with unlawfully spying on, then firing, workers involved in protests



a person holding a sign: Tyler Sonnemaker/Business Insider


© Tyler Sonnemaker/Business Insider
Tyler Sonnemaker/Business Insider

  • The National Labor Relations Board will file a complaint accusing Google of violating several labor laws during a crackdown of worker activism last year, according to two of the employees who were terminated.
  • The complaint will state that Google unlawfully terminated two employees involved in worker activism.
  • It will also state that Google violated US labor laws by monitoring and interrogating workers involved in the protests.
  • Five employees were fired late last year for their involvement in protests at the company. Two of those employees are mentioned in the complaint.
  • Are you a current or former Google insider? You can contact this reporter securely using the encrypted messaging app Signal (+1-628-228-1836) or encrypted email ([email protected]). Reach out using a nonwork device.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The National Labor Relations Board will issue a complaint accusing Google of violating several labor

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What To Get Your Colleagues, Employees, And Clients This Holiday Season

It’s that time of the year again! The time for showing appreciation to those who make your life possible or better. Every year, I curate my own list of what to give that special someone in your professional life, whether that’s your colleagues, clients or employees. Here’s my holiday gift guide from last year and a special edition mini gift guide for this year as well. 

Here’s my 2020 list of the best holiday gifts. I am truly hopeful that you will find something for everyone on your list. 

For the Kitchen Maven:

Tovala: The ultimate

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