SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) — Facebook said it won’t punish employees who take time off to join pro-immigrant protests on May 1. And, in a nod to security staff, janitors, shuttle-bus drivers and others who work for Facebook contractors on campus, the company also said it will investigate if any of its vendors illegally crack down on their employees’ protest rights.
“At Facebook, we’re committed to fostering an inclusive workplace where employees feel comfortable expressing their opinions and speaking up,” a spokesman wrote in an emailed statement. “We support our people in recognizing International Workers’ Day and other efforts to raise awareness for safe and equitable employment conditions.”
Facebook notified employees of the news in an internal memo that was distributed on April 14, and a spokesperson for the company told Diya TV it applies regardless of whether workers notify the company ahead of time. The spokesperson also said the company will be performing an internal audit of all vendors that break the law that protects workers’ rights to organize and protect themselves.
Several technology and Silicon Valley companies have been critical in their opposition to aspects of U.S. President Donald Trump’s agenda. Facebook, particularly, has criticized some of Trump’s immigration moves. At a rally in January at Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, Calif., chief executive Sundar Pichai and co-founder Sergey Brin spoke against Trump’s executive order that closed U.S. borders to people from several majority-Muslim nations. Both companies, along with Apple, Microsoft and Intel are among more than 120 firms that signed a February court filing opposing the travel ban.
Activists have been pushing for more action. On March 29, employee delegations led by Silicon Valley Rising visited 20 tech firms, including Facebook, to ask them to show support for immigrant workers and to promise that there would be no retaliation against employees who protested on May 1. They also visited Google sites in seven cities last week to make the same demand.
Facebook has already weathered scrutiny from all sides. Conservatives accused it of a liberal bias, liberals criticized chief executive Mark Zuckerberg for keeping Trump supporter Peter Thiel on the board, which Zuckerberg has defended.