One of Google’s product managers (named as John Doe in the paperwork) has filed a lawsuit against the tech giant over the breach of California labour laws, by flouting internal confidentiality policies. The lawsuit, first reported by TheInformation, alleges that Google is running an internal spying program that relies on employees voluntarily reporting on other employees who have potentially leaked information.
The introduction of the lawsuit states “Google’s motto is ‘don’t be evil’. Google’s illegal confidentiality agreements, policies and practices fail this test”.
The lawsuit filed describes everything that happens at Google as confidential information, which the plaintiff alleges prohibits staff members from reporting any illegal activities occurring within the company, even to Google’s own legal team. The lawsuit further described binds employees to remain silent on topics such as workplace conditions, which potentially even stops a staff member from publishing a novel on “someone working at a tech company in Silicon Valley” without the company’s approval on the final draft.
Text in the lawsuit further explains that policies prohibit Googlers from telling a potential employer on how much money they make or the work they had performed at Google, when they search for a new job elsewhere. The policy further prohibits Google employees from disclosing skills, knowledge and experience at Google when working with a new employer. It also dictates that employees are prohibited from speaking to their friends or spouse about whether their boss could be doing a better job.
The lawsuit alleges that Google’s unlawful confidentiality policies are in contradiction to California’s Labour Code, is contrary to public policy and interests of the State of California. It also suggests that Google’s policies binding current and former employees limits competition, infringes on constitutional rights, and prevent disclosure of misconduct.
Google could potentially have to pay close to $3.8 billion in damages if the court determines the company guilty on all 12 counts of violations of labour laws in California.