Well, here’s some Christmas cheer for you. Google is being sued by one of its employee’s over internal confidentiality policies which ban employees from writing about workplace concerns.

According to information available at the time of writing, the lawsuit alleges that Google’s confidentiality policies are illegal under Californian state law.


Apparent activity banned under Google rules includes posting opinions about the company, writing novels “about someone working at a tech company in Silicon Valley” without Google signing it off; talking, even to colleagues about ‘illegal’ conduct and dangerous product defects for fear that conservations may be used against the company in a lawsuit.

It also accuses the company of denying employees the privilege of “speaking to spouse or friends about whether they think their boss could do a better job.” The irony. Oh, the irony.

The employee at the centre of the lawsuit is believed to be a product manager. Known only as John Doe, he claims that Google is so fearful of leaks to the press, that anyone found to have done so, would be fired.

While Google may have reason to fire anyone who leaks confidential information about the company, Mr Doe claims that as far as Google terms and conditions go, everything and anything to do with Google is considered ‘classified.’

The essence of the complaint alleges that the company’s confidentiality policies are contrary to the California Labour Code, public policy and the interests of the state. The lawsuit was filed in the California Superior Court in San Francisco under California’s Private Attorneys General Act.

If the lawsuit is successful, the state of California could receive up to 75% of the final fine, while the rest would be paid out over to the company’s 65,000 employees. The theoretical maximum fine could amount to $3.8 billion.  Each employee of Google could end up with a settlement of around $14,600

“Google’s motto is ‘don’t be evil.’ Google’s illegal confidentiality agreements and policies fail this test,” the lawsuit said.