News, Culture & Society

Google BANS employees from ‘disrupting the workday to have a raging debate over politics’

Stung by a slew of recent controversies, Google – which for so long prided itself on providing an open workplace culture where workers are free to speak their minds and voice their opinions – published new employee guidelines Friday appearing to attempt to rein in their freewheeling staff.

The new rules discourage unnecessary political debate and improper disclosure of company information.

They also require Googlers to be respectful in all internal communications, with fierce prohibition against trolling or making blanket statements against groups of people that could make fellow employees feel unwelcome.

In an email to staff on Friday, CEO Sundar Pichai ordered against employees insulting one another and urged them to refrain from ‘disrupting the workday to have a raging debate over politics or the latest news story.’

‘Our primary responsibility is to do the work we’ve each been hired to do, not to spend working time on debates about non-work topics,’ the guidelines read.

Stung by a slew of recent controversies, Google, which for so long prided itself on providing an open workplace culture where workers are free to speak their minds and voice their opinions, published new employee guidelines Friday appearing to attempt to rein in their freewheeling staff

Once lauded as the future of corporate America, Google’s seeming cultural shift marks a drastic departure from the unrestrained workplace environment it once pioneered, hinting that the tech company has learned that encouraging employees to speak openly doesn’t come without controversy.

The overhaul comes at a time of increased scrutiny from politicians, the public and its own employees who have publicly aired a number of internal conflicts.

In one such controversy, one former Google employee alleged that he was fired for his conservative viewpoints and accused the company of plotting to help President Trump’s Democratic opponent in the upcoming 2020 elections.

The worker, Kevin Cernekee, appeared on TV in an interview with Fox News which later prompted President Trump to tweet that his allegations were ‘all very illegal’ and added he’d be ‘watching Google very closely’, believing the company to have an ‘anti-conservative bias’.

Under its new policies, Googlers will now be prohibited from making statements that ‘insult, demean, or humiliate,’ the company’s employees, business partners, or ‘others’ – including public figures, such as Donald Trump.

Once lauded as the future of corporate America, Google¿s seeming cultural shift marks a drastic departure from the unrestrained environment it once pioneered, hinting that the tech company has learned that with encourage employees to speak openly doesn¿t come without its controversy

Once lauded as the future of corporate America, Google’s seeming cultural shift marks a drastic departure from the unrestrained environment it once pioneered, hinting that the tech company has learned that with encourage employees to speak openly doesn’t come without its controversy

The overhaul comes at a time of increased scrutiny from politicians, the public and its own employees who have publicly aired a number of internal conflicts

The overhaul comes at a time of increased scrutiny from politicians, the public and its own employees who have publicly aired a number of internal conflicts

The new rules discourages unnecessary political debate and improper disclosure of company information. They also require Googlers to be respectful in all internal communications, with fierce prohibition against trolling or making blanket statements against groups of people that could make fellow employees feel unwelcome.

The new rules discourages unnecessary political debate and improper disclosure of company information. They also require Googlers to be respectful in all internal communications, with fierce prohibition against trolling or making blanket statements against groups of people that could make fellow employees feel unwelcome.

Google first introduced internal community guidelines last year, to address its many internal forums and email lists that have grown evermore rancorous as their workforce grew beyond 100,000 staffers and the nation’s politics became increasingly partisan.

The rules were said to be welcomed by some and viewed as an effort to limit harassment between colleagues, however some criticized the motion, believing it to be an encroachment on right to free speech.

Friday’s new set of guidelines are likely to raised concern against such employees once more, particularly as they could limit a worker’s right to speak out against the company’s own practices and policies.

In November last year, 20,000 workers staged one of the largest workplace programs in tech industry history when they walked out of their offices to protest against the company paying millions in buyout packages to executives accused of sexual harassment.

Coming as one of the latest controversies, one former Google employee alleged that he was fired for his conservative viewpoints and accused the company of plotting to help President Trump¿s Democratic opponent in the upcoming 2020 elections. The worker, Kevin Cernekee, appeared on TV in an interview with Fox News

Coming as one of the latest controversies, one former Google employee alleged that he was fired for his conservative viewpoints and accused the company of plotting to help President Trump’s Democratic opponent in the upcoming 2020 elections. The worker, Kevin Cernekee, appeared on TV in an interview with Fox News

The appearance prompted President Trump to tweet that his allegations were ¿all very illegal¿ and added he¿d be ¿watching Google very closely¿, believing the company to have an 'anti-conservative bias'

The appearance prompted President Trump to tweet that his allegations were ‘all very illegal’ and added he’d be ‘watching Google very closely’, believing the company to have an ‘anti-conservative bias’

Additionally, when thousands of employees voiced disdain against two initiatives, Project Maven and Project Dragonfly – the first was to use artificial intelligence to enhance US military drones, and the other to build a censored search engine in China – Google pulled the plug on both.

The new guidelines state that employees are ‘free to raise concerns and respectfully question and debate the company’s activities,’ as it’s part of [Google’s] culture.’

However, at the same time, employees are warned that they’re forbidden from accessing or sharing ‘need-to-know’ information or making ‘false or misleading statements about Google’s products or business.’

As a result, such guidelines will limit employees in what they deem whistleblowing activity. Neither Project Maven nor Project Dragonfly were known about publicly until employees publicized their protests.

Also on Friday, Google said it would be hiring a team dedicated to moderating employee discussions on internal forums.

The company is also creating a ‘central flagging tool’ that will allow workers to report comments. 

If an employee breaks the company’s policies about workplace discourse, the team may first remind those offenders about the rules. The team can also ‘take other actions as appropriate in response to significant or repeated policy violations,’ the company warned Friday.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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