Google is currently under investigation by the US National Labor Relations Board, CNBC reported Monday.
The investigation follows the recent layoffs of four former Google employees named Laurence Berland, Paul Duke, Rebecca Rivers and Sophie Waldman. The four former employees were involved in internal activism during their stay at Google and encouraged their colleagues to protest issues such as the company’s plan to create a censored version of its search engine in China, or submit bids for contracts with the Ministry of Defense. If it is determined that Google has fired these employees because of their activism, this could be a violation of federal labor law.
The four employees filed an indictment with the NLRB on December 5 for unfair labor practices. Google has already been investigated by the NLRB, including a recent survey that ended just two months ago. In this September comparison with the agency, Google promised that, among other things, it would give its employees the opportunity to form unions and talk to the press. The December announcement blames Google for violating the terms of this settlement.
According to CNBC, the NLRB’s investigation will focus on whether Google has violated labor laws by firing these activists and whether it has prevented its employees from forming a union. When employees file an indictment with the NLRB, the Agency must initiate an investigation to determine whether to take formal action and file its own complaint. Oakland agency staff will lead the investigation, which is expected to last 90 days.
At The Verge’s request to comment, Google responded with the same statement it has used since the layoffs:
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