Labor agency alleges Google illegally fired two workers who tried to organize

The company fired four employees last year in the wake of protests, but the NLRB only took up two of their cases. One of the said workers, Kathryn Spiers, added a pop-up notification to an internal version of Chrome that reminded her colleagues about their right to organize. At the time, Google said it “dismissed an employee who abused privileged access to modify an internal security tool.”

The other former Google employee named in the complaint, Laurence Berland, was fired after viewing his co-workers’ calendars. Google said it let Berland go over data security violations. Berland was involved in organizing against Google’s partnership with an anti-union consulting firm. If Google decides not to settle the complaint, the case will go before an administrative judge.

Google has faced other accusations of retaliating against employees who have organized protests and reported workplace issues. Workers have demonstrated over the company’s handling of sexual

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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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The US labor board accused Google of illegally spying on employee activists, firing them, and blocking workers from organizing



a person holding a sign: Tyler Sonnemaker/Business Insider


© Tyler Sonnemaker/Business Insider
Tyler Sonnemaker/Business Insider

  • The National Labor Relations Board on Wednesday filed a complaint accusing Google of violating several labor laws during a crackdown of worker activism last year.
  • The complaint said Google unlawfully terminated two employees involved in worker activism.
  • It also accused Google of violating 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 (NRLB) on Wednesday issued a complaint accusing Google of violating several labor laws during a crackdown on worker activism last year.

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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.


© Provided by CNBC
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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Google violated U.S. labor laws in clampdown on worker organizing, regulator says

OAKLAND, Calif. (Reuters) – The National Labor Relations Board issued a complaint on Wednesday accusing Alphabet Inc’s Google of unlawfully monitoring and questioning several workers who were then fired for protesting against company policies and trying to organize a union.

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Google is seen in Davos, Switzerland Januar 20, 2020. Picture taken January 20, 2020. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann/File Photo

The U.S. labor regulator found Google unlawfully placed employees on administrative leave and terminated them for accessing documents related to how the company polices internal forums, according to the complaint. The agency also found unlawful Google policies for accessing documents and meetings rooms as well as its tactics for investigating employees because all of the efforts were aimed at deterring workplace organizing, the complaint said.

Google said it was confident it acted legally.

“Google has always worked to support a culture of internal discussion, and we place immense

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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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Labor Unions Work to Find Ways to Bargain With AI’s Black Box

(Bloomberg) — Unions are trying to figure out how to protect their members from artificial intelligence programs they can’t see and may not even be sure are really there.



A screen displays a video of Huawei Technologies Co.'s pedestrian and vehicle recognition system at an exhibition hall at the company's headquarters in Shenzhen, China, on Wednesday, May 22, 2019. Huawei is seeking about $1 billion from a small group of lenders, its first major funding test after getting hit with U.S. curbs that threaten to cut off access to critical suppliers.


© Photographer: Bloomberg/Bloomberg
A screen displays a video of Huawei Technologies Co.’s pedestrian and vehicle recognition system at an exhibition hall at the company’s headquarters in Shenzhen, China, on Wednesday, May 22, 2019. Huawei is seeking about $1 billion from a small group of lenders, its first major funding test after getting hit with U.S. curbs that threaten to cut off access to critical suppliers.

The U.K.’s Trades Union Congress, an umbrella group for British unions representing more than 5.5 million people, is forming an AI taskforce to lobby employers and regulators to increase transparency around where the technology is being deployed, and to offer workers recourse if they believe they’ve been discriminated against.

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Employees who spoke to the

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Apple lobbies against Uighur forced labor bill

The staffers, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the talks with the company took place in private meetings, said Apple was one of many U.S. companies that oppose the bill as it’s written. They declined to disclose details on the specific provisions Apple was trying to knock down or change because they feared providing that knowledge would identify them to Apple. But they both characterized Apple’s effort as an attempt to water down the bill.

“What Apple would like is we all just sit and talk and not have any real consequences,” said Cathy Feingold, director of the international department for the AFL-CIO, which has supported the bill. “They’re shocked because it’s the first time where there could be some actual effective enforceability.”

Apple spokesperson Josh Rosenstock said the company “is dedicated to ensuring that everyone in our supply chain is treated with dignity and respect. We abhor

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