Google sued by employee for $3.8B over 'spying program'
- A product manager at Google is suing the tech corporation for what he asserts are overly stringent confidentiality policies, the Verge writes. The suit, filed in the California Superior Court, accuses the tech giant of operating a “spying program” against its employees to make sure proprietary information isn’t leaked to authorities or competitors.
- The product manager alleges that Google’s confidentiality policy violates California labor law. The suit also claims that Google’s policy suppresses information that could reveal illegal activity and other violations at the company.
- Google could face damages totaling $3.8 billion if found liable. It could be charged $100 for each of the 12 allegations against it times its 61,000 employees. The $100 fine doubles per pay period for a year.
The penalties alone in Google’s case should make an employer – even one Google’s size – scrutinize its policies. Companies must protect their trade secrets, patents and other proprietary information in a way that doesn’t gag employees or cause retaliation. Ethical employers encourage and sometimes reward employees for coming forth with information on illegal activities or safety violations.
Workers might already be feeling vulnerable in the workplace if they think employers are needlessly spying on them. That’s why employers should draft policies that protect their proprietary information along with workers’ privacy and whistleblowing rights.