Meta will not remove a policy restricting discussions about abortion in the workplace and told employees they are banned from posting about the subject on the tech company’s internal version of Facebook, according to a report.
Meta, the parent company of Facebook, implemented the abortion speech prohibitions in 2019, the Verge reported, and during an all staff meeting on Thursday, an executive told employees that there is “an increased risk” of the company being seen as a “hostile work environment” because of internal discourse on abortion. Employees at Meta have called on the company to change the abortion discussion policy in light of Justice Samuel Alito’s leaked draft opinion that signaled the Supreme Court would overturn its 1973 Roe v. Wade decision and Meta’s stance that other controversial topics, such as immigration, Black Lives Matter, and transgender rights, are OK to discuss at work, according to the report.
“Even if people are respectful, and they’re attempting to be respectful about their view on abortion, it can still leave people feeling like they’re being targeted based on their gender or religion,” Meta’s Vice President of Human Resources Janelle Gale reportedly said during the all staff meeting. “It’s the one unique topic that kind of trips that line on a protected class pretty much in every instance.”
At work, Meta employees are only allowed to discuss abortion “with a trusted colleague in a private setting” and during a “listening session with a small group of up to 5 like-minded people to show solidarity,” according to the report.
Employees are free to talk about abortion outside of work, such as Meta COO Sheryl Sandberg did on her Facebook page after the Supreme Court draft opinion was revealed. Sandberg said it was a “scary day for women all across our country” when the draft opinion leaked.
Not all employees at Meta are happy with the current policy.
According to the report, several comments about the abortion discussion ban posted by employees during the meeting livestream were deleted, and employees venting frustration about the speech restrictions have seen their internal Facebook posts taken down and replaced with content removed.
“The same policy explicitly allows us to discuss similarly sensitive issues and movements including immigration, trans rights, climate change, Black Lives Matter, gun rights/gun control, and vaccination,” a female employee said in an internal post seen by the Verge.
“The argument about why our policy treats one issue quite differently than other sensitive issues feels flimsy and unconvincing to me. The entire process of dealing with the Respectful Communication policy, being told why my post is violating, and crafting this new post has felt dehumanizing and dystopian,” the employee continued, according to the report.
The Washington Examiner has reached out to Meta for comment.