A complaint filed by the National Labour Relations Board (NLRB) alleges that Google violated US labour laws by spying on its workers. The complaint states that the tech company then fired two of the employees as they were organising employee protests.
According to the complaint, Google fired both Laurence Berland and Kathryn Spiers in 2019 because of their employee activism. Google also let other employees go but the NLRB found that only the terminations of the two violated labor laws.
Berland’s activism was against Google’s decision to work with IRI Consultants. The firm is popular for its anti-union efforts. Google let Berland go for reviewing other employees’ calendars, a Google policy that NLRB has found to be unlawful.
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“Google’s hiring of IRI is an unambiguous declaration that management will no longer tolerate worker organizing. Management and their union busting cronies wanted to send that message, and the NLRB is now sending their own message: worker organizing is protected by law,” Berland said in a statement.
Spiers’ firing was due to her efforts in creating a pop-up for Google employees visiting the IRI Consultants website. “Googlers have the right to participate in protected concerted activities,” the pop-up read.
Google said Spiers had violated its security policies, hurting her reputation in the tech community. The NLRB has also found that her firing by Google was in violation of the labour laws.
“This week the NLRB issued a complaint on my behalf. They found that I was illegally terminated for trying to help my colleagues. Colleagues and strangers believe I abused my role because of lies told by Google management while they were retaliating against me. The NLRB can order Google to reinstate me, but it cannot reverse the harm done to my credibility,” Spiers said in a statement.
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