Google employees stage mass walkout over sexual harassment and other workplace issues
The fallout from allegations that Andy Rubin, co-founder of Android, Google’s flagship operating system, forced a woman to have oral sex with him in a hotel room continues. According to The Verge, Rubin received a compensatory package from Google worth about $90 million, which the company was not obligated to offer to him. He also received a statement of support from Google CEO Larry Page, despite Page knowing exactly why he was forcing Rubin to leave the company.
Rubin was not the only Google executive who has been accused of sexual misconduct. Amit Singhal, former SVP of search, also received a compensatory package worth millions of dollars after his resignation amid a flurry of sexual harassment allegations. Google X director Rich DeVaul was allowed to keep his job because Google took “appropriate corrective action” following an accusation from a prospective employee. DeVaul later resigned after his name was mentioned in a New York Times report earlier in the week.
Naturally, this sequence of events frustrated and upset many Google employees, who have since published a list of demands that they say their employer must add to their company policy:
1. An end to forced arbitration in cases of harassment and discrimination.
2. A commitment to end pay and opportunity inequity.
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 Officer to answer directly to the CEO and make recommendations directly to the board of directors. In addition, appoint an employee representative to the board.
Yesterday at approximately 11:10 am, Google employees worldwide walked out of their offices. Over 1,500 employees, mostly women, took part in the protest, their feelings represented by a statement from YouTube product marketing manager Claire Stapleton to the New York Times: “We don’t want to feel that we’re unequal or we’re not respected anymore… Google’s famous for its culture. But in reality we’re not even meeting the basics of respect, justice and fairness for every single person here.” Before walking out, the employees would leave this flyer on their desks:
As the organizers of the protest against Google wrote on an internal website: “While Google has championed the language of diversity and inclusion, substantive actions to address systemic racism, increase equity and stop sexual harassment have been few and far between. ENOUGH. Time’s up at Google.”