Google has issued new community guidelines to its staff, instructing them to avoid political debates and other “disruptive” conversations in the workplace.
The tech giant described its new communication rules as “official policy” and warned managers would intervene if they were broken.
“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,” the policy states. “Our primary responsibility is to do the work we’ve each been hired to do.”
"Avoid conversations that are disruptive to the workplace or otherwise violate Google’s workplace policies," it continues. "Managers are expected to address discussions that violate those rules."
The policy announcement reminds Google employees that working at the company “comes with tremendous responsibility”. “Billions of people rely on us every day for high-quality, reliable information," it says. "It’s critical that we honor that trust and uphold the integrity of our products and services."
It signals a change in tack for a company that was once famous for encouraging internal debate, but has been in the headlines itself over its own corporate culture. Last year around 20,000 Google employees around the world staged a walkout over the company's sexual harassment policy.