This Worker Found Out Google Laid Her Off While Feeding Her 3-Week-Old Daughter

Jana Elfenbein was a recruiter at Google — and said she was on maternity leave when she found out she was part of the company's layoffs.

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By Gabrielle Bienasz

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Google offices in New York City.

Jana Elfenbein wrote on LinkedIn last week that she was feeding her daughter, who was three weeks old, when she found out she was laid off from Google, per Insider.

"While on maternity leave feeding my 3 week old daughter at 4:30AM last Friday, I learned that my position at Google had been eliminated," she wrote in the LinkedIn post.

As of Tuesday, it has more than 6,000 likes and 300 comments.

Google laid off about 12,000 employees earlier this month — and many, including people laid off while eight months pregnant or taking care of a sick parent, have shared their experiences on LinkedIn.

It comes amid a continued workforce contraction in the tech industry in 2022 and 2023, with layoffs hitting Amazon, Microsoft, Meta and companies like Impossible Foods and Coinbase.

Related: In a Viral TikTok, An Ex-YouTube Employee Talks About Getting Laid Off During a Business Trip

Google said its layoffs were due to over-hiring.

"Over the past two years we've seen periods of dramatic growth. To match and fuel that growth, we hired for a different economic reality than the one we face today," CEO Sundar Pichai wrote in a memo.

The company stated at the time that laid-off employees would be paid through a notification period of 60 days and receive severance packages of 16 weeks' salary, with more for depending on length of employment, plus "six months of healthcare, job placement services and immigration support for those affected."

The company did not respond to a request for comment about how severance packages would work for those on parental leave.

Elfenbein's profile says she primarily worked in recruiting at Google and that she had been there since May 2018.

"I cannot change what happened, but I can control my response to it," she wrote in her post.

"I choose to cherish the meaningful connections and wonderful memories I made, honor the personal and professional growth I gained, and celebrate the legacy of work I leave behind," she added.

One expert preciously told Entrepreneur that, although it is legal in the U.S., laying off someone who is pregnant (which is not allowed in France, for example, in most cases) or on parental leave has other drawbacks.

"It is not a great look to separate from someone who is pregnant or on a parental leave," Margaret Hermes, who is chief operations officer at the Chicago-based fintech Avant, said.

"Certainly, there are some people who are going to rethink that Google slogan 'don't be evil,'" she added.

Gabrielle Bienasz

Entrepreneur Staff

Gabrielle Bienasz is a staff writer at Entrepreneur. She previously worked at Insider and Inc. Magazine. 

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