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Google Retaliation Claims Spread With New Labor Board Filing

Josh Eidelson and Andrew Wallender

(Bloomberg) -- A complaint filed Tuesday accused Google of terminating staff in retaliation for activism about working conditions, the latest in a series of such allegations against the internet giant.

The filing, which involves Google Ads staff, was filed with the National Labor Relations Board regional office in Chicago. It alleges that Google illegally terminated one or more employees because they had joined or supported a labor group, and protested over terms and conditions of employment. It also accuses Google of maintaining rules that bar staff from discussing working conditions, and that prevent or discourage them supporting a labor group.

The identity of the affected staff, and of the person who made the filing, are redacted in a copy of the filing that Bloomberg News obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request.

Google declined to comment on Wednesday.

The same day the Chicago complaint was filed, four Google software engineers in New York, California, and Colorado said they would bring claims to the NLRB alleging they were fired for activism, including opposition to Google’s work with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

“We dismissed four individuals who were engaged in intentional and often repeated violations of our longstanding data security policies, including systematically accessing and disseminating other employees’ materials and work,” a spokeswoman said in an emailed statement on Tuesday. “No one has been dismissed for raising concerns or debating the company’s activities.”

--With assistance from Mark Bergen.

To contact the reporters on this story: Josh Eidelson in Palo Alto at jeidelson@bloomberg.net;Andrew Wallender in Arlington at awallender4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Tom Giles at tgiles5@bloomberg.net, Alistair Barr, Andrew Pollack

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