Google: Legal Battles and Changing Work Experience
Google was once considered a dream place to work at for people in the technology industry. However, the company has faced fierce criticism in recent years for its attempts to suppress the voice of its employees. The past few years have been tumultuous for the company, which has had to grapple with employee protests over the mishandling of sexual harassment claims, retaliation for expression of their disagreement with company policies, and ethic crises related to the use of artificial intelligence (AI) technology. For a long time, workers at Google have enjoyed what has become known as the legendary standards of a democratic workplace and corporate perks. Recently, however, they have taken to the streets to protest the destructive work culture of the company. Some discontented employees left the company; others were allegedly fired in retaliation for their actions. Google had historically been characterized as "least bad" among technology giants in terms of the freedom of expression allowed to employees. Is this changing? Why were Google's employees discouraged from voicing their challenges? What approach should company adopt to maintain the trust of employees in channels provided for freedom of expression of its employees? Could the termination of vocal employees be treated as unlawful retaliation? Has Google been struggling to handle workplace harassment complaints? Would alleged improper handling of workplace sexual harassment attract a legal action against the company? How Google should handle workplace harassment complaints in future to avoid legal battles? Parul Gupta is affiliated with Management Development Institute. Jyotsna Bhatnagar is affiliated with Management Development Institute.