'Why me? Why now?': 8 Months Pregnant Woman Says Google Laid Her Off Google employee Katherine Wong was set to go on maternity leave — then, she got the email.

By Gabrielle Bienasz

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Like some 12,000 other people on Friday, Katherine Wong found out Google had laid her off.

But potentially unlike many other people, she's 34 weeks pregnant — and was set to go on maternity leave in a week.

"The first thought that came to my mind was 'Why me? Why now?'" she wrote on LinkedIn, saying it was especially considering after her positive performance review.

Related: Google Will Lay Off 12,000 Workers Due to 'Difficult Economic Cycles'

"As a PgM, [program manager, presumably] my first instinct was to make a plan, but clearly this is one of the most difficult projects I have ever handled," she added.

Wong told Insider she had been working at Google since November 2021 in the role of program manager. Per her LinkedIn profile, she helped out with Google Domains, which helps people manage and sell domain names. She added in the post she had just finished off a "handover doc," in prep for her leave when she received the email.

Google announced layoffs in the U.S. on Friday because they hired for a "different economic reality than the one we face today," said Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai in a memo to employees.

The search engine giant joined the ranks of other tech companies laying off thousands of staffers. from Amazon to Microsoft to Spotify. Twitter, which was purchased by Elon Musk in 2022, saw half of its staff go out the door.

Related: Elon Musk's Twitter Mass Layoffs Have Begun: 'Has The Red Wedding Started?'

"I take full responsibility for the decisions that led us here," Pichai added in the memo.

Like many tech companies, Google hired thousands of employees in 2020 and 2021.

Other Googlers who were axed have taken to LinkedIn to discuss their plights and ask for help finding new work.

"I along with 12,000 others thought today would just be an ordinary workday and as I logged to start my day, a message popped up that I was laid off," former Googler Amanda Rajchel wrote on the platform, calling it a "devastating day."

"It's time to update my resume and look ahead to new opportunities," she added.

Another person laid off last week, Decia Stanford, an early career recruiter, said that she had marked nine years at Google last month.

"I'm still processing as Google was a family and not just a company to me. I'll miss all the amazing people I've worked and more than anything else," she wrote.

On Wong's post, one user commented: "Firing people who are pregnant should be illegal in the US, as it is in many other countries."

Generally speaking, it is not permitted to fire a person who is pregnant in the Netherlands and France, for example.

It's legal in the U.S., though, as long as the reason for the termination is not due to the pregnancy itself, says Margaret Hermes, chief operations officer at Chicago-based fintech Avant.

"Even if an employer feels confident that the reasons for separation are not discriminatory, they still have to keep in mind from a PR perspective, it is not a great look to separate from someone who is pregnant or on a parental leave," Hermes told Entrepreneur.

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

The laid-off Google employees will still receive pretty substantial benefits, including a starting 16 weeks of severance, plus pay through the 60-day notification period and health insurance for six months.

Wong did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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

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