Google and a Google contractor broke federal law by forbidding workers from discussing their wages with each other, a newly formed union claimed in its first complaint to the National Labor Relations Board.
Adecco Group, the contractor, also suspended a worker for complaining about the claimed prohibition, the complaint filed Thursday alleged. The National Labor Relations Act protects the right of workers to discuss pay.
Google and Adecco did not immediately answer questions about the complaint, which identifies them together as the workers’ employer.
The Alphabet Workers Union, named for Google’s parent firm, claims in its complaint that at a Google data center in South Carolina data center, contract workers were subjected to a “rule that precludes employees from discussing wages with one another.” In late January, employee Shannon Wait was subjected to a retaliatory suspension, the union alleges, after a supervisor questioned her about a personal Facebook post in which she mentioned supporting the new union that was launched in early January.
“The same supervisor previously sent an electronic message directing Wait not to discuss wages with her co-workers when she began asking questions about why some workers did not receive a promised bonus,” the union said in a news release Thursday.
Google, headquartered in Mountain View, employs more than 130,000 temporary and contract workers around the world, compared to 123,000 full-time employees, the New York Times reported in May.
The Silicon Valley digital-advertising and internet-search titan has faced pushback from employees in recent years over its response to sexual misconduct claims, a contract with the Pentagon, and a plan to launch a censored search engine in China.
The union says in promotional material that it “unites full-time employees, temporary employees, vendors and contractors,” with members numbering around 800.