Can you believe that Google mass firings is it still from January? Google’s reported mishandling of its biggest round of layoffs has employees up in arms, and they’re doing everything from walking out of work to sending angry letters to management.
First, European Googlers were laid off by the January announcement. Reuters reports that more than 200 workers were laid off at the company’s Zurich, Switzerland, branch this week. Employees in that office walked out a second time in protest of the move and even offered to take a pay cut or reduce work hours to avoid the job cuts. Google’s layoffs seem to be driven by a desire to silence the stock markethowever, so it is not surprising that these offers were not heard.
Many of the Swiss workers who walked out in protest were members of the IT trade union Syndicom, and a union spokesman told Reuters, “Our members at Google Zurich and all employees participating in the walkout are showing solidarity with those who were laid off. They are disturbed by the non-transparent nature of the layoffs and especially frustrated that Google is laying off workers at a time when the company is making billions in revenue every year.”
Current and former employees feel Google is harsh in how it treats employees on medical or parental leave during layoffs. CNBC has reported that Google has decided not to honor pre-approved leave for fired employees. Some Googlers have formed a group called “Layed Out,” which is trying to get Google to honor its previously agreed-upon timelines for employees going through major life changes.
Google honoring past leave agreements isn’t just about employees getting paid when they have medical or family issues; it’s also about having ongoing medical care when they need it. As part of Google’s (apparently abandoned) plan to offer employees every perk imaginable, the company on-site medical facilities which is used by many employees.
While employees’ severance packages may include a few more months of health insurance, being fired means an immediate loss of access to Google facilities. If a fired Googler’s primary care doctor works there, that person is out of luck, and several employees told CNBC they lost access to their doctors the second the layoff email arrived. Employees on leave also have a lot to deal with. A former Googler, Kate Howells, said Google released her from her hospital bed shortly after giving birth. He worked for the company for nine years.
The group Laid off on Leave points out that Google does not measure the image it promotes to the world, saying, “Google currently demonstrates its commitment to the workplace and its participation in Women’s History Month through others’ t other product and service campaigns. We agree with you: it is very important to recognize the difficulties that still disproportionately affect women within the workplace.”
Another group of Googlers posted an open letter to CEO Sundar Pichai asking the company to continue employing people during medical leave, freeze new hires during the layoff process, and prioritize rehiring laid-off employees in the future . The letter also asks Google to ensure that the layoffs do not discriminate against anyone and that the company protects employees facing humanitarian crises by not firing employees who hold visas from Ukraine or Russia. More than 1,300 Googlers have signed the letter so far.