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Google CEO Sundar Pichai in May 2019. Photo: Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images

Google CEO Sundar Pichai told employees at an all-staff meeting this week that "it's definitely gotten harder" to see how to make improvements after breaking employees' trust at the company's current scale, the Washington Post reports.

Our thought bubble, via Axios' Ina Fried: Google has prided itself on having a vocal employee base. In recent months, the tech giant has struggled with handling workers who question its every move and want a say in everything from who is hired or retained to who the company does business with.

Driving the news: In early October, Google employees reportedly discovered a previously unknown team within the company that is building a surveillance tool to "monitor workers' attempts to organize protests and discuss labor rights," Bloomberg reports.

  • On Thursday, Pichai and Google's Global Head of Policy Karan Bhatia defended he company's hiring of former Department of Homeland Security official Miles Taylor.
  • Google management deleted two employee questions about Taylor ahead of the all-hands meeting on Thursday, Buzzfeed reports.

What they're saying: “We are genuinely struggling with some issues — transparency at scale,” Pichai said at the closed-door meeting, the Post reports. He said trust is "one of the most foundational things for the company."

  • "[H]e wasn't involved in the ban, and he was also not involved in the family separation policy," Bhatia said of Taylor at the all-hands.
  • Taylor served as counselor to former DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen during the implementation of the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" or family separation policy.

Background: Google employees have protested the company's work with U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the its policies on sexual harassment — the latter of which resulted in a walkout of 20,000 Google staff.

  • Google has moved to more comprehensive e-learning format as part of its updated mandatory sexual harassment training, which is available only in the U.S. until it goes global in 2020, a Google spokesperson confirmed to Axios.

Go deeper: Google's restlessness for better company culture

Go deeper

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

The winners and losers of the pandemic holiday season

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The pandemic has upended Thanksgiving and the shopping season that the holiday kicks off, creating a new crop of economic winners and losers.

The big picture: Just as it has exacerbated inequality in every other facet of American life, the coronavirus pandemic is deepening inequities in the business world, with the biggest and most powerful companies rapidly outpacing the smaller players.

Coronavirus cases rose 10% in the week before Thanksgiving

Expand chart
Data: The COVID Tracking Project, state health departments; Map: Andrew Witherspoon, Sara Wise/Axios

The daily rate of new coronavirus infections rose by about 10 percent in the final week before Thanksgiving, continuing a dismal trend that may get even worse in the weeks to come.

Why it matters: Travel and large holiday celebrations are most dangerous in places where the virus is spreading widely — and right now, that includes the entire U.S.

Updated 7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York coronavirus restrictions

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled late Wednesday that restrictions previously imposed on New York places of worship by Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) during the coronavirus pandemic violated the First Amendment.

Why it matters: The decision in a 5-4 vote heralds the first significant action by the new President Trump-appointed conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who cast the deciding vote in favor of the Catholic Church and Orthodox Jewish synagogues.