A former Nest employee has filed a complaint with the National Labour Relations Board against both Nest Labs and Google.
The complaint was filed on May 17, and includes several serious allegations, including that Nest coerced the employee, and eventually fired him for posting content critical of his employer on a private Facebook group.
If the employee is successful, the NLRB could force Nest to re-hire him and pay him back wages, and force Google to change its policies going forward.
The fired Nest employee’s lawyer wrote in a statement:
Tony Fadell, the current CEO of Nest, is a bad leader. He has created a work environment that is a total mess. Nest employees want their work environment to be better. They desire a work environment as good as or even better than the Google work environment…
Right now, under Fadell’s apparent direction, Nest employees are being mistreated or fired for exercising their protected rights to social sites like Twitter, Facebook and Snapchat.
Business Insider has reached out to Nest and Google for comment. The Information has the full story on the complaint.
Nest reportedly fired the employee, a project manager, because he was posting memes critical of Nest CEO Tony Fadell to a private Facebook group, the anonymous employee told The Information.
Nest has been trying to cut down on leaks since an unflattering post appeared in Recode earlier this year depicting memes — or funny images with text on them — created on Google’s internal network that mocked Nest’s recent internal troubles and its embattled CEO.
The erstwhile employee told an ex-government Google security investigator that he didn’t leak the memes to Recode or other reporters, but he had been posting different memes to Facebook. Apparently, that was enough to get him fired.
According to his lawyers, that violates the law. If the employee is successful in his complaint to the NLRB, it could force Google and other tech companies to re-think their approach to employee confidentiality and their media policies.
Here’s an example of the (apparently separate and different) memes posted on Google’s internal network earlier this year: