Two employee activists at Google say they have been retaliated against for helping to organize a walkout among thousands of Google employees in November, and are planning a “town hall” meeting on Friday for others to discuss alleged instances of retaliation.
In a message posted to many internal Google mailing lists Monday, Meredith Whittaker, who leads Google’s Open Research, said that after Google disbanded its external AI ethics council on April 4, she was told that her would role would “change dramatically.” Whittaker said she was told that to stay at the company, she would have to “abandon” her work on work on AI ethics and her role at AI Now Institute, a research center she cofounded at New York University.
Claire Stapleton, another walkout organizer and 12-year veteran of the company, said in the email that two months after the protest, she was told she would be demoted from her role as marketing manager at YouTube and lose half her reports.
After escalating the issue to Human Resources, she said she faced further retaliation.
“My manager started ignoring me, my work was given to other people, and I was told to go on medical leave, even though I’m not sick,” Stapleton wrote.
“While my work has been restored, the environment remains hostile and I consider quitting nearly every day,” she wrote.