Google indicted for violating labour law, Facebook sued over discrimination against workers

*National Labour Relations Board says Google illegally stopped employees from sharing work-related grievances and information with each other using tools such as calendars, e-mail, meeting rooms and communication tool

*The Department of Justice institutes a legal action against Facebook for discriminating against the workers in the United States

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

For illegally spying on workers trying to unionise before firing them, the United States (US) National Labour Relations Board (NLRB) has filed a complaint accusing global tech giant Google of violating extant Labour regulations.

The NLRB alleges that the company virtually spied on employees organising company protests before terminating two of them, agency report said.

The Board, in doing so, claims the frontline tech firm was “interfering with, restraining, and coercing employees in the exercise of their rights guaranteed in Section 7 of the Act.”

Report says Kathryn Spiers, one of the workers who was fired in 2019, disclosed that Google unlawfully fired her for “trying to help” her colleagues by organising a movement pushing back against Google’s decision to work with IRI Consultants ─ a firm known for its anti-union efforts.

Laurence Berland, another worker who was fired, said in a statement that “Google’s hiring of IRI is an unambiguous declaration that Management will no longer tolerate worker organising.

“Management and their union busting cronies wanted to send that message, and the NLRB is now sending their own message: worker organising is protected by law.”

The complaint accuses Google of virtually surveilling workers, and then interrogating those participating in employee activism before terminating them.

The NLRB says Google illegally stopped employees from sharing work-related grievances and information with each other using tools like calendars, e-mail, meeting rooms, and a communication tool used at Google called MemeGen.

If Google doesn’t settle by December 16, the complaint will go before a San Francisco judge in April of next year.

A company spokesperson, however, in a statement to The Verge, said Google intended to defend itself against the allegations

The spokesperson stated: “We’ll continue to provide information to the NLRB and the administrative judge about our decision to terminate or discipline employees who abused their privileged access to internal systems, such as our security tools or colleagues’ calendars.

“Such actions are a serious violation of our policies and an unacceptable breach of a trusted responsibility, and we will be defending our position.”

In the same vein, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) has instituted a legal action against Facebook for discriminating against the workers in the United States.

The group in lawsuit filed Thursday, December 3 accuses the company of deliberately favouring temporary visa holders in the country, Bloomberg report said.

The Department of Justice is suing Facebook for allegedly creating recruitment systems that favoured temporary visa holders.

In a complaint filed Thursday, the DOJ accused Facebook of failing to consider “qualified and available U.S. workers” for more than 2,600 positions with an average salary of roughly $156,000.

The DOJ in a statement said: “Facebook intentionally created a hiring system in which it denied qualified U.S. workers a fair opportunity to learn about and apply for jobs that Facebook instead sought to channel to temporary visa holders Facebook wanted to sponsor for green cards.”

There are clear rules which state that companies cannot deny workers employment opportunities by unlawfully preferring temporary visa holders. Companies that do so will be held accountable, the Department said.

Assistant Attorney General Eric S. Dreiband of the Civil Rights Division said in a statement, that “our message to all employers — including those in the technology sector — is clear: you cannot illegally prefer to recruit, consider, or hire temporary visa holders over U.S. workers.”

It was learnt the DOJ officials claim that the systems Facebook set up discriminated against U.S. workers for more than a year, from around January 1, 2018 to September 18, 2019.

During that time, the company is accused of not advertising available positions on Facebook’s careers website and of not considering U.S. workers for open positions, report stated.

Thursday’s lawsuit accuses Facebook of creating permanent positions reserved for temporary visa holders.

When employees holding temporary immigration status at Facebook applied for permanent positions through the labor certification process, the tech giant allegedly created a permanent position that was “only open to that temporary visa holder,” according to the complaint.

According to DOJ, Facebook implemented a recruitment process that was “intentionally designed to deter U.S. workers from applying,” the complaint alleges.

The Department is seeking civil penalties, back pay on behalf of the US workers allegedly denied employment, and other relief to prevent future discrimination.

In response, a spokesperson for Facebook said that the company “has been cooperating with the DOJ in its review of this issue.”

However, the global tech giant is reportedly disputing the agency’s allegations and refused to comment further on the matter.

Kindly Share This Story