Facebook tells employees to stop discussing abortion at work

Facebook owner Meta has reportedly banned employees from talking about abortion at work.

Yesterday, a Meta executive told employees that they should refrain from mentioning the subject of abortion on the company’s internal social media platform, Workplace, as reported by The Verge.

The reasons given for such a rule was that doing do posed ‘an increased risk’ that the company would be seen as a ‘hostile work environment’.

Some employees have reportedly pushed back against the policy following the leaked Supreme Court document that could potentially strip away the legal right to abortion in US.

The employees believe that the ban is at odds with employees being allowed to talk ‘respectfully’ about issues like Black Lives Matter, immigration, and trans rights.

The rule seems to be enforced by a 2019 policy that Facebook introduced that prohibits employees from discussing ‘opinions or debates about abortion being right or wrong, availability or rights of abortion, and political, religious, and humanitarian views on the topic,’ according to a section of the company’s internal ‘Respectful Communication Policy’ seen by The Verge.

During an all-hands meeting with employees on Thursday, Meta’s VP of HR, Janelle Gale, said that abortion was ‘the most divisive and reported topic’ by employees on Workplace.

‘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,’ according to a recording of her comments obtained by The Verge.

After the leaked document indicated that Roe vs Wade could be overturned, Meta’s number-two executive, Sheryl Sandberg, shared her thoughts against it on her public Facebook page.

‘Every woman, no matter where she lives, must be free to choose whether and when she becomes a mother,’ wrote Sandberg in the post.

The day after Sandberg’s public comments, Meta’s senior executive, Naomi Gleit, reortedly wrote in an internal post that the company had placed restrictions around discussion of abortion.

‘At work, there are many sensitivities around this topic, which makes it difficult to discuss on Workplace,’ wrote Gleit wrote.

She said that employees were only allowed to discuss abortion at work ‘with a trusted colleague in a private setting (e.g. live, chat, etc.)’ and in a ‘listening session with a small group of up to 5 like-minded people to show solidarity.’

Meta’s employees were instead encouraged to use the company’s social apps to share their views in their personal capacity, and that the company would continue to offer its employees access to reproductive healthcare in the US regardless of where they lived.

The policy has not been welcome by many employees, some of who reportedly feel a ‘strong sense of silence and isolation on Workplace’ because of it.

‘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,’ wrote the employee who had worked at the tech giant for a decade.

‘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,’

Metro.co.uk has reached out to Meta for comment.

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