Google won’t restrict employee speech over workplace issues


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Google on Thursday said it reached a settlement with the National Labor Relations Board, after complaints from workers who had spoken out over workplace issues. 

The search giant said would explain to its workers what protections their speech has under federal law. 

“Under the settlement, we have agreed to post a notice to our employees reminding them of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act,” a Google spokeswoman said in a statement. “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.” 

The move comes as cultural tensions have roiled Google in recent months. One compliant to the NLRB was filed by Kevin Cernekee, a former employee who said he was fired from Google for his conservative viewpoints. The settlement with the NLRB doesn’t cover Cernekee’s discharge, according to a person familiar with the matter. 

Another complaint was filed by a current Google worker, which has not been named, who said he was punished for speaking out against a top executive on a Facebook page, according to the Wall Street Journal, which earlier reported the news

While the agreement with the NLRB addresses speech about workplace issues, Google emphasized there is “absolutely no mention of political activity in the proposed settlement.”

Last month, Google updated its policies to limit workers discussions of politics and other topics unrelated to work. The company spokeswoman said on Thursday that those new guidelines are “completely unrelated and unaffected” by the settlement.



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