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US Labor Board Alleges Google Of Unfair Labor Practices

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The National Labor Relations Board or NLRB has filed a complaint against Google for violating US labor laws by spying on workers illegally and firing them following protests.

The complaint relates to two employees, Laurence Berland and Kathryn Spiers, both of whom were fired by the company in late 2019 in connection with organizing employee protests.

Software engineer Berland, who was organizing against Google's decision to work with IRI Consultants, a company asllegedly known for its anti-union efforts, was fired for improperly accessing colleagues' internal calendars.

Meanwhile, Spiers was fired after she created a pop-up for Google employees visiting the IRI Consultants website, which read, "Googlers have the right to participate in protected concerted activities."

Following the protests, Google had fired several other employees, but the NLRB now found that only the terminations of Berland and Spiers violated labor laws.

The Board said Google has been interfering with, restraining, and coercing employees in the exercise of the gauranteed rights.

The NLRB now requires Google to answer the complaint on or before December 16.

The compaint, if not settlled by the company, will go before an administrative judge in April, 2021. If it looses the case, Google could be forced to pay back wages to both Berland and Spiers, and rehire them.

The Verge quoted a Google spokesperson as saying, "We'll continue to provide information to the NLRB and the administrative judge about our decision to terminate or discipline employees who abused their privileged access to internal systems, such as our security tools or colleagues' calendars. Such actions are a serious violation of our policies and an unacceptable breach of a trusted responsibility, and we will be defending our position."

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