Google's new guidelines ask employees to not talk politics at work

Google's new guidelines ask employees to not talk politics at work
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Google released a new set of community guidelines Friday that ask employees to stop discussing politics during the workday. 

Google said the guidelines, which prompt employees to avoid certain subjects in internal communications, help keep Google "a safe, productive, and inclusive environment for everyone."

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“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,” one guideline states.

Without outright banning topics, Google said managers are expected to address discussions that violate “those rules.”

Other newly issued guidelines emphasize that employees use “respect” when communicating and try to avoid discussions that “make other Googlers feel like they don’t belong.” Another reminds employees to “treat our data with care” and not disclose confidential information in violation of the company’s data security policy. 

In an emailed statement, a Google spokeswoman said the guidelines “exist to support the healthy and open discussion that has always been a part of our culture.”

“They help create an environment where we can come together as a community in pursuit of our shared mission and serve our users,” the spokeswoman added.

 

Earlier this month, a fired Google engineer alleged during an interview with the Journal that the company had a culture of “bullying” employees with conservative views. 

Google denied the allegations that employees are fired or harassed for political reasons, adding that “lively debate is a hallmark of Google’s workplace culture” 

The company said the engineer who made the claims, Kevin Cernekee, was fired after he used a personal device to download tens of thousands of confidential internal documents.

Updated at 1:51 p.m.