Google cracks whip on political debates at workplace

San Francisco, Aug 24 (IANS) Google has cracked down on its employees who encourage political speech and internal debates at workplace, restricting the company's historically open work culture.

In an email sent to employees, Google CEO Sundar Pichai explained the company's revised community guidelines.

"While sharing information and ideas with colleagues helps build community, disrupting the workday to have a raging debate over politics or the latest news story does not.

"Our primary responsibility is to do the work we've each been hired to do, not to spend working time on debates about non-work topics," the new guidelines read.

The new rules come as Google faces increasing scrutiny from politicians, the public, and its employees on a number of issues, reports Vox.

"Don't troll, name call, or engage in ad hominem attacks -- about anyone. Be respectful in your comments about (and to) your fellow Googlers," the guidelines read.

"Working at Google comes with tremendous responsibility. It's critical that we honour that trust and uphold the integrity of our products and services. The guidelines are official policy and apply when employees are communicating in the workplace," Google said in a statement given to The Verge.

Google has been hit by a couple of walkouts and sit-ins in the past over workplace policies.

In November, nearly 20,000 Google employees across the world walked out following the company's mishandling of sexual harassment allegations.

Six months after they staged a walkout against workplace harassment, Google employees on May 1 staged sit-in protest at the IT major's offices across the world. The group "Google Walkout For Real Change" organised the sit-in protest.

The search engine giant in 2017 fired the author of a controversial memo on gender diversity that went viral inside the company.

Authored by James Damore, the memo titled "Google's Ideological Echo Chamber" claims that when it comes to technology, there is a biological difference between men and women.

Before his firing, Damore had filed a complaint with the US National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) that charged Google with "misrepresenting and shaming me in order to silence my complaints".

--IANS

na/mag/

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