Leaked audio from a Google internal meeting is sparking renewed debate over just how much the company really wants its employees speaking out.

Driving the news: The most recent issue has been Google's hiring of Miles Taylor, who worked as chief of staff for Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.

  • In recent months, employees have also pushed the company on a range of issues, from how it handles sexual harassment complaints to what types of work it does for the U.S. government.
  • "We are genuinely struggling with some issues — transparency at scale," CEO Sundar Pichai said in an internal meeting last week, as reported by the Washington Post.

Between the lines: That's a subtle shift from when I interviewed Pichai earlier this year for "Axios on HBO." At the time, Pichai downplayed the notion that workers were speaking out too much, or even that there was such a thing.

  • "We have encouraged our employees to speak up," he said during an unaired portion of the interview. "And it gives us a lot of insight. I've seen situations where other companies can be blind to potential issues or concerns, so I've always viewed it as a valuable way by which we get feedback."

But, I pressed, could there ever be too much of a good thing?

  • At least at the time, Pichai suggested he wanted employees to keep making their voices heard. "You know, if it's, if it's a valid concern, a real concern, I always want to hear about it," he said. "I've never felt it's an undue burden for how I need to do my job."

Go deeper: The details behind Google's toxic workplace culture

Go deeper

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Lebanon information minister resigns days after deadly explosion

Anti-government protesters in Beirut. Photo: STR/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Lebanon’s information minister resigned on Sunday in the wake of mass protests over the deadly blast in Beirut's port last week, which has killed at least 160 people and injured nearly 6,000, AP reports.

Why it matters: In her resignation letter, Manal Abdel-Samad called change "elusive" and apologized for not delivering more to the country, which had been devastated by a financial crisis and the coronavirus pandemic even before the blast destroyed much of the capital city.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 a.m. ET: 19,655,445 — Total deaths: 727,353 — Total recoveries — 11,950,845Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7 a.m. ET: 4,998,802 — Total deaths: 162,425 — Total recoveries: 1,643,118 — Total tests: 61,080,587Map.
  3. Politics: Trump signs 4 executive actions on coronavirus aid — Democrats, and some Republicans, criticize the move.
  4. Public health: Fauci says chances are "not great" that COVID-19 vaccine will be 98% effective — 1 in 3 Americans would decline COVID-19 vaccine.
  5. Science: Indoor air is the next coronavirus frontline.
  6. Schools: How back-to-school is playing out in the South as coronavirus rages on — Princeton, Johns Hopkins, Howard to hold fall classes online.

Elevator anxiety will stifle reopenings

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Will you step back into an elevator any time soon?

Why it matters: Tens of billions of dollars — and the future of cities around the country — rest on the answer to that question. So long as workers remain unwilling to take elevators, hundreds of billions of dollars' worth of office real estate will continue to go largely unused.