Would you believe that the massive Google layoffs of January are still going on? Google’s reported mishandling of its biggest round of layoffs has employees up in arms, and they’re doing everything from walking out on the job to sending angry letters to management.
First of all, European Googlers just got fired because of the January announcement. Reuters reports that more than 200 workers were laid off from the company’s branch in Zurich, Switzerland, this week. Employees in that office walked out for a second time in protest of the move, even offering to take pay cuts or reduced work hours to avoid job cuts. Google’s layoffs seem driven by a desire to drop the stock, though it’s not surprising that these offers fell on deaf ears.
Many of the Swiss workers who protested are members of the Syndicom IT workers union, and a union spokesperson told Reuters: “Our members at Google Zurich and all the employees who joined the strike are showing solidarity with those laid off. They are annoying”. because of the non-transparent nature of the layoffs and are especially disappointed that Google is laying off workers at a time when the company rakes in billions in profit every year.”
Current and former employees feel that Google is being cruel in the way it treats employees who were on parental or medical leave during layoffs. CNBC reports that Google has decided not to honor pre-approved leave for terminated employees. Some Googlers have formed a group called “Laid off on Leave,” which tries to get Google to meet previously agreed upon deadlines for employees going through major life changes.
Holding Google to its 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 most. As part of Google’s (apparently scrapped) plan to offer employees every conceivable perk the company has on-site medical facilities that many employees use.
While employee severance packages come with a few more months of health insurance, getting laid off could mean instantly losing access to Google facilities. If that’s where a fired Googler’s primary care doctor works, that person is out of luck, and some employees told CNBC they lost access to their doctors the moment the firing email arrived. Furloughed employees also have a lot to deal with. A former Googler, kate howells, said Google let her out of her hospital bed shortly after giving birth. She worked at the company for nine years.
The group Laid off on Leave points out that Google does not live up to the image it promotes in the world, saying: “Google is currently showcasing its commitments in the workplace and its participation in Women’s History Month through through various 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 Google employees posted to an open letter CEO Sundar Pichai asking the company to continue hiring people during sick leave, freeze new hires during the layoff process, and prioritize rehiring laid-off employees in the future. The letter also calls on Google to ensure layoffs do not discriminate against anyone and for the company to protect employees facing humanitarian crises by not laying off employees with Ukrainian or Russian visas. More than 1,300 Googlers have signed the letter so far.