Press Release

Google Lays Off Critical Workers Responsible For Public Safety Initiatives And Regulatory Compliance



May 24, 2024 11:00 AM

Press contact:

On Wednesday night workers on Google’s Legal Investigations Team received devastating news: they had lost their jobs. As members of the LIS team, these workers are responsible for handling and responding to requests for user data made by law enforcement, the courts, and members of the public; as well as creating and operationalizing the programs and policies that safeguard user data and maintain compliance with Google’s legal obligations.Even before this week’s layoff, staffing shortages on this team had slowed Google’s ability to respond to requests, resulting in a significant backlog and increased risk to the integrity and security of sensitive user data.

Critically, this includes  emergency requests that support law enforcement efforts to geolocate individuals in crisis, including victims of kidnappings, child sexual abuse, and school shootings as well as missing persons and those at risk of self-harm. Approximately one third of the less than 100-person team was abruptly laid off by Google on Wednesday, impacting not only their livelihoods but also jeopardizing critical public safety initiatives, Google’s legal and regulatory compliance around the world, and the security of its users and their private data.

As Google continues its layoffs to further gratify shareholders, it is unclear what consideration was given to the critical role these workers play in saving lives, responding to court orders and supporting individuals trying to access the data of recently deceased loved ones. 

“Google reported its best ever quarterly profit in the first quarter of this year on over $80 billion revenue and it is one of the top four companies in the world by market value. These layoffs are not driven by genuine financial constraints. Executives have prioritized delivering short-term profits to shareholders over the people who depend on the company’s products and those whose work ensures these products function. Only through collectively organizing and demanding real layoff protections can we put an end to the rolling layoffs which harm not only our coworkers but the safety of Google products and the communities we serve,” said Stephen McMurtry, Senior Software Engineer and member of the Alphabet Workers Union-CWA elected Executive Board.