Google releases strict guidelines on employee communications

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Google has released new workplace guidelines urging staff not to insult one another or make misleading comments about the company.

The guidelines encourage staff to refrain from “disrupting the workday to have a raging debate over politics or the latest news story”. When communicating, they should follow the three Google values of “respect the user, respect the opportunity, respect each other”.

Last year the search technology giant faced controversy when employees staged a walkout over its treatment of women, having dismissed 48 staff for sexual harassment a few weeks before. A former employee also accused the company of firing him over his conservative political views.

Google has also indicated that it will hire a team dedicated to moderating employee discussions on internal employee forums. This team will be empowered to “take other actions as appropriate in response to significant or repeated policy violations”.

The guidelines add: “We’re all free to raise concerns and respectfully question and debate the company’s activities – that’s part of our culture. Be sure to speak with good information.

“Don’t assume you have the full story, and take care not to make false or misleading statements about Google’s products or business that could undermine trust in our products and the work that we do.”

Employees are urged not to enter discussions that “make other Googlers feel like they don’t belong or have no place here” and – in reference to previous high profile leaks – are reminded that their communications can be “rapidly and broadly disseminated”.

In terms of consequences, Google said that employees that failed to adhere to the guidelines could expect certain discussion forums to be removed, commenting to be revoked, posting privileges taken away or appropriate disciplinary action.

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