The title of this article already speaks for itself. As much as Meta wants to look to the future with the metaverse and virtual reality projects, it really struggles to prove itself as a cutting-edge company. Just yesterday, in fact, a manager told the employees that it is theirs It is forbidden to discuss abortion on the Workplace, an internal social platform. The reason? “A greater risk” that the company is seen as a “hostile work environment”.
Goal: abortion is one of the banned topics in employee discussions
Perhaps many are not aware of it, yet since 2019 Meta has a very particular policy concerning the respectful communication among its employees. Of course, this was put in place a few years ago, but so far no one had ever reported it. In any case, the policy prohibits employees from discussing “opinions and debates on whether abortion is right or wrong, on the availability or rights to abortion, and on political, religious and humanitarian opinions on the issue”. A ban that immediately lifted the disapproval of Meta employees. On the other hand, it runs counter to the right to speak “respectfully” on issues like Black Lives Matter, immigration and the rights of trans people.
Just a few days ago Janelle GaleMeta’s Vice President of Human Resources, said that abortion it is “the most divisive and reported topic” by employees on Workplace. And he added that “even if people are respectful and are trying to be respectful of their views on abortion, it can still leave people feeling that they are being targeted based on their gender or religion.” It is clear that the question of abortion is very complicated. And not just for Meta. Many companies in the sector, in fact, have to deal with practical cases of abortion, and not just with the simple exchange of opinions.
Amazon e Tesla, for example, they said they would cover a portion of the expenses for pregnant employees who need to travel to have an abortion. And Salesforce has made itself available to financially support the relocation of employees who want to leave Texas due to the ban on abortion. Lyft e Uber they promised to cover legal fees for drivers sued under state law for “transporting” a woman intent on having an abortion. But the strongest position is that of Jeremy StoppelmanCEO of Yelp, who stated that “companies must take a stand on reproductive rights”.
In this context too Sheryl Sandberg di Meta called abortion “one of our most fundamental rights”. Adding that “every woman, no matter where she lives, must be free to choose if and when to become a mother”. And yet, despite these fine words, Meta continues to ban discussions on abortion. “At work, there are a lot of sensitivities on this subject, which makes it difficult to discuss Workplace,” she said Naomi Glide, Senior Manager of Meta. Gleit herself said that employees could only talk about abortion “with a trusted colleague in a private setting”. And in a “listening session with a small group of up to 5 like-minded people to show solidarity”. Therefore, she encouraged employees to use Meta’s social apps to share their views on the matter.
In any case, it is undeniable that the ban on talking about abortion has caused a real rift among employees. On the one hand, those who support the policy. And on the other hand, those who feel frustrated by the removal of content on the subject from Workplace. In a post in the “Support and Silence” section, for example, a Meta employee stated that the policy led her to experience a “strong sense of silence and isolation in the workplace”.
“The same policy explicitly allows us to discuss equally sensitive issues and movements including immigration, trans rights, climate change, Black Lives Matter, gun rights / gun control and vaccination,” he wrote. “The argument as to why our policy treats an issue quite differently from other sensitive issues seems fragile and unconvincing to me. The whole process of managing the respectful communication policy, being told why my post is violating it, and the creation of this new post was dehumanizing and dystopian “.