The US Department of Labor has raised concerns that Google’s strict confidentiality agreements have discouraged employees from speaking to the government about discrimination as part of a high-profile wage inequality investigation. Following a judge’s ruling that Google must hand over salary records and employee contact information to federal regulators investigating possible systemic pay disparities, a labor department official said the agency was worried that the technology corporation’s restrictive employee communication policies could impede the next phase of the inquiry. “We have had employees during the course of the investigation express concerns about whether they are permitted by Google to talk to the government, because the company policy commits them to confidentiality,” Janet Herold, labor department regional solicitor, told the Guardian in an interview after the judge’s order. “When even a single employee expresses that, that means many more people are too concerned to make the call or have the conversation. The chilling effect is quite extreme.” Google strongly rejected Herold’s claims, saying in a statement: “Our workplace policies are clear that employees can talk freely about workplace matters, and report concerns to the government without any fear of repercussion.” But Herold’s comments and the DoL’s recent filings – along with… Read full this story
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