A Google product manager has accused the company of violating California labor laws via its restrictive confidentiality policies. According to The Information, the employee filed a suit with the California Superior Court in San Francisco, alleging that Google is running an internal "spying program" that encourages employees to report co-workers suspected of leaking information to the media.
The lawsuit also states that Google's policies prohibit employees from reporting illegal activities within the company, even to its own attorneys. Weirdly, there's also a policy that prevents employees from writing a novel about working for a Silicon Valley corporation without getting approval from Google.
One of the reasons for the stringent policies is to ensure that confidential information isn't leaked to the press. Anyone found guilty of doing so would be terminated, according to the lawsuit. The suit also says that confidential information is classified as "everything at Google," which prevents employees from talking about their workplace conditions with the "press, members of the investment community, partners, or anyone else outside of Google."
If Google is found to be guilty of the alleged 12 violations of California's labor laws, it could pay out as much as $3.8 billion in total, with 75% of the penalty collected by the state and the rest distributed to Google's 65,000 employees. That comes out to $14,600 per employee.
Here's a full copy of the lawsuit, as obtained by The Verge:
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Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia at Android Central. He leads the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, contributing to reviews, features, and buying guides. He also writes about storage servers, audio products, and the semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.