Google engineer ‘silently mourned’ after being fired on mental health leave: report

Google engineer ‘silently mourned’ after being fired on mental health leave: report

A Los Angeles-based Google engineer said she found out she was being laid off after receiving a company notice at 2 a.m. while out on mental health leave.

Ali Neil, 29, was one of 12,000 employees who received pink slips earlier this month as part of a sweeping round of layoffs at Google.

Neil told Insider she “bled for Google” and was taken aback by the severance notice after assuming she wouldn’t be included in any round of layoffs while on leave.

“Now I’m left here having to find a job for the first time in years after being on mental health leave in quite possibly one of the most difficult hiring situations and housing markets,” Neil said in an interview published on Tuesday.

Neil had worked at the tech giant since August 2020, according to her LinkedIn account, and had reportedly been on leave for about three months when she received the layoff notice.

The fired engineer said Google immediately cut off her access to her work laptop and company systems, making it more difficult to contact co-workers. Additionally, Neil was purportedly told she wouldn’t be allowed to return her company-owned devices on site and would have to either provide them to security stationed outside the office or mail them back.

Neil said she was unable to fall back asleep after receiving the overnight email and “silently mourned” until the morning. She also recounted the experience in a LinkedIn post last week.

The internal bloodbath included Google’s head of mental health and well-being, Kristin Maczko, who confirmed her exit in a lengthy LinkedIn post and signaled that her team was heavily impacted.

“To the many people on the Mental Health and Wellbeing team whose roles were eliminated, thank you for everything that you have done to improve the wellbeing of Googlers,” Maczko said.

“To those who remain, Googlers need you more than ever now, and I am excited to see what you will do,” she added.

In a memo to staffers last week, Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai said the layoffs affected workers “across Alphabet, product areas, functions, levels and regions.”

He said the cuts took place after a “rigorous review” that was meant to prepare the company for worsening economic conditions and ensure its staffing levels were aligned with priority initiatives.

Many Google employees affected by the layoffs have taken to social media to express their disgust with how the cuts were handled — with workers learning their fate by email or reading news reports in some cases.

One former Google engineer manager who had worked at the company for 16 years said the layoffs showed that workers are seen as “100%” disposable at Big Tech firms.

Another ex-employee, a Los Angeles-based attorney, said he found out he was laid off after reading a 2 a.m. email while feeding his infant daughter.

In Google’s home state of California, the company’s cuts included 31 massage therapists who had been employed on site at offices.