In a nutshell: Google has fired an employee who was allegedly leaking names and personal details of other staffers to the media, while two others were placed on administrative leave for “violating company policy.” The actions are reportedly part of a crackdown on labor-related activism within the Mountain View firm.
Google said that it is currently investigating the employees it has suspended. It suspects that one of them had searched for and shared confidential files that were unrelated to their duties. The other is believed to have been tracking the personal calendars of other staffers working in the community platforms, human resources, and communications teams.
“The tracking had made the staff in those departments feel unsafe,” a spokeswoman told Bloomberg.
Google did not identify the employees under investigation nor the one who was already terminated.
A Google spokeswoman said the company is investigating the employees who were placed on leave.
Three anonymous staffers with knowledge of the situation claim that the actions against their fellow workers were punitive. They allege that management is retaliating against employees who advocate for labor rights. One of the sources said that the staffer accused of accessing documents is under fire because the files contained information regarding a recent company controversy surrounding staff surveillance.
The documents discussed an internal Chrome browser extension that was installed on all employee computers. Some believed the tool was being used to monitor them and learn when they were trying to organize protests. One of the memos allegedly said that the extension would automatically report to management any worker who created a calendar event with more than 10 rooms or 100 participants.
Google claims that the tool’s only function is to reduce calendar spam and that it is not “punishing” anyone for opening a single confidential document. The person on leave was suspected to have accessed and shared a “wide range” of internal private memos.
The spokeswoman would not comment further on the investigation or the potential actions the company might take if it finds the staffer violated company policy.
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