Google settles with six employees who worked on unionization efforts.
Google has agreed to settle a National Labor Relations Board case filed by six former and current employees who said the company illegally fired or disciplined them because of their unionization efforts.
As part of the settlement, which was agreed on Friday, former and current employees of Google also agreed to dismiss a related court case in California. The terms of the settlement are bound by a non-disclosure agreement, Laurie M. Burgess, the attorney representing former and current employees, said.
The settlement was reached after a decision in the Labor Board case forced Google to hand over more documents. The complaint, which was brought out by the labor agency in December 2020, said the search giant had illegally fired or disciplined and surveyed employees active in organizing labor.
Google has repeatedly said that its actions have nothing to do with efforts to combat unionization and that employees have violated security protocols. A spokesman said on Monday it was “delighted for all parties to avoid years of legal proceedings.”
“We have always supported the right of our employees to speak out about their working conditions, and we stand by our policies that protect the security of our systems,” the spokesperson said.
Ms Burgess said the settlement was not a loss. Her customers had devoted two years to fighting Google and needed to move on with their lives, she said.
“My customers went through the process of trying to suppress union and exposing the underbelly of what Google is doing in terms of organizing activities more than anyone else,” Ms Burgess said.
The case brought to light Google’s widespread efforts to stem a nascent unionization push. In documents related to Google hiring IRI Consultants, a firm known for its anti-union work, a Google lawyer said he wants the consultants to help convince employees that “unions suck.”
In January, an administrative law judge ordered Google to hand over more documents, which the company had withheld citing attorney-client privilege. In addition, Kent Walker, Google’s chief legal officer, was to testify at the NLRB trial.
Four people who brought the case were dismissed by the company, and two others were disciplined but not fired. One of those two lives on Google. As part of the settlement, the four dismissed employees waived their requests to reinstate.
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