Google employees around the world are walking out en masse today, to protest the company’s handling of a series of sexual misconduct allegations made against high-ranking officials.
Workers at the company’s offices are planning to leave their desks at 11:10am in their local timezone. Employees in London, Zurich, Berlin and Dublin emptied into the streets, following similar action from workers in the Singapore and Tokyo also.
The company’s staff on the east coast of the United States just followed suit in protests, which are expected to last throughout the day.
The Google Walkout For Real Change is believed to be the largest organised action ever taken by workers at a major technology firm. A Twitter account named @GoogleWalkout is documenting the protests throughout the day.
The action comes following a New York Times exposé critical of the company’s handling of a number of sexual misconduct allegations levelled against senior staff. Those organising the walkout have five major goals in mind, including commitments from the Google hierarchy on equal pay and diversity.
1) An end to Forced Arbitration in cases of harassment and discrimination
2) A commitment to end pay and opportunity inequality
3) A publicly-disclosed sexual harassment transparency report
4) A clear, uniform, globally inclusive process for reporting sexual misconduct safely and anonymously.
5) Elevate the Chief Diversity to answer directly to the CEO and make recommendations directly to the Board of Directors. In addition, appoint and Employee Representative to the Board.
The NYT report singled out the case of Android creator Andy Rubin, who left Google with a $90m severance package, despite senior Google management knowing of the allegations made by a fellow employee. The report on October 25 said:
“What Google did not make public was that an employee had accused Mr. Rubin of sexual misconduct. The woman, with whom Mr. Rubin had been having an extramarital relationship, said he coerced her into performing oral sex in a hotel room in 2013, according to two company executives with knowledge of the episode. Google investigated and concluded her claim was credible, said the people, who spoke on the condition that they not be named, citing confidentiality agreements. Mr. Rubin was notified, they said, and Mr. Page asked for his resignation.”
A spokesperson for Mr Rubin said “any relationship that Mr. Rubin had while at Google was consensual and did not involve any person who reported directly to him.”
Eileen Naughton, Google’s VP for people operations added: “We investigate and take action, including termination. In recent years, we’ve taken a particularly hard line on inappropriate conduct by people in positions of authority. We’re working hard to keep improving how we handle this type of behavior.”
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