The ruling comes as part of a settlement of complaints from former employees of the company who told the NLRB that Google prevents them from airing their views.
Breitbart News previously revealed exclusive details about the incident that led to one of the NLRB complaints.
The NLRB decision comes just weeks after Google issued new guidelines to its employees urging them against “disrupting the workday to have a raging debate over politics or the latest news story,” as well as a new rule against insulting or demeaning public figures.
However, as the WSJ’s report notes, it is unclear if the NLRB ruling will cause Google to revise its guidelines once again.
Private employers have the ability to limit certain speech inside their workplaces, and late last month Google moved to prune office debates among its more than 100,000 full-time employees, adding new guardrails for discussions of nonwork topics and encouragement to avoid potentially disruptive conversations. Among the new rules: “Discussions that make other Googlers feel like they don’t belong have no place here.”
Federal law protects activity like forming a union and conversations about improving pay, among other types of conduct.
Still, current and former employees have said Google has overreached, or at times not done enough to protect their speech inside the workplace. The NLRB settlement says Google must actively notify employees that the search giant killed rules that clamped down on employees sharing certain confidential information with one another, or with the media. The settlement doesn’t spell out exactly what those rules covered.
The Wall Street Journal reports Google declined to comment on the NLRB action.
Are you an insider at Google, Facebook, Twitter or any other tech company who wants to confidentially reveal wrongdoing or political bias at your company? Reach out to Allum Bokhari at his secure email address firstname.lastname@example.org.
Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News.