Google sued by employee over "illegal" confidentiality policies

Google is reportedly being sued by a product manager at the company for its confidentiality policies, according to The Information.

The program, called Stopleaks, suggests that employees need to report on "strange things" they see or hear around them, including anyone asking detailed questions about an employee's project or job, so states the complaint.

In one of the quirkier policies, the plaintiff said Googlers are forbidden to write a novel about someone working at a tech company in Silicon Valley - something like Dave Eggers "The Circle" - unless Google first gives approval for the book, then for the final draft.

The suit, filed Tuesday in California Superior Court, describes a system of tight control over what Google employees can say about their employer, The Information reported.




Doe says Katz falsely informed roughly 65,000 co-workers that he had been fired for leaking information to the press, though he did not leak it, and he still works for the company. While this is a bit draconian, it's generally encouraged at any business that handles any kind of confidential information. Google's confidentiality practices violate the California Labor Code, public policy, and the state's interests, adds the complaint. He says they can't even talk to spouses or friends about whether their boss could do a better job. The suit alleges that Google asks employees to spy on one another, reporting any potential infractions, or employees that may have leaked information.

The lawsuit claims that Google has a spying program in place which instructs employees to keep and eye out for employees who seem like they'd be leaking information out of the company. Some say that Google topping best place to work lists and successfully marketing themselves as an wonderful workplace for talented and creative people is all down to careful information control, and this lawsuit seems to allege that this and then some is true. The agreement resulted in Google, Apple, Intel and Adobe being sued for illegal collusion to suppress wages, a suit they settled for $415 million. It claims that its confidentiality policies are meant to protect information and not stop people from sharing workplace concerns or terms and conditions of employment.

Confidentiality policies aren't uncommon in Silicon Valley.

Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Newsweek, but a spokesperson told news website Mashable: "We will defend this suit vigorously because it's baseless". "Transparency is a huge part of our culture". The complaint alleges that Google discourages the aforementioned type of whistle blowing activities because such statements might ultimately resurface during legal proceedings. His name in the suit was "John Doe".

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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