Thousands Of Google Employees Held Worldwide Walkout Over Sexual Harassment
November 2nd, 2018 / 5:09 PM
Image Credits: Wikimedia
Thousands of protestors stood on the roads, some had placards in their hand while some chanted “Stand up, fight back” and “Women’s rights are worker’s rights”. This was the view outside one of the world’s largest companies’ headquarter in Mountain View campus in California at around 11 am on Thursday. Almost 3,000 people gathered to protest against how Google acted on allegations of sexual harassment in the workplace. The protestors also raised concerns about workplace inequality at Google.
“Time’s Up Google”
It was not just in California where protesters were raising their voices. Google employees from all around the globe united their voice- from Singapore, India (Hyderabad), Berlin, Zurich, to London, Chicago and Seattle — all of them held a mass walkout.
The snowballing effect was prompted after an article published by the The New York Times last week revealed that Google had paid Android co-founder Andy Rubin a $90 million exit package along with a grand farewell in 2014 while concealing sexual misconduct charges against him.
The protest came in the wake of the #MeToo wave which is receiving a humongous support from the people all around the world. The wave has now taken over “Googleplex”. However, the protestors claim that there are fundamental issues with the company.
According to The Guardian, one organiser who was at the California headquarter event revealed a story of an anonymous co-worker who had complained of sexual harassment by the vice president of Google. The woman claimed that the latter kept his job at the company for the three more years.
Another employee, Nancy, claimed that she was a victim of an attempted sexual assault at an off-site company event. “The last thing I remembered was a co-worker who asked me to switch drinks with him,” she said. She also said that the “first thing that the company did was to silence her”.
Soon after the mass demonstration by the Gooogle Staffs, a small group of protest organisers announced their protest on social media and released a list of demands. The demands included the end to mandatory arbitration clauses in such cases and commitment to gender pay parity.
Thousands of employees in 40+ Google offices worldwide are part of the #GoogleWalkout that has so far included Tokyo, Singapore, Zurich, Berlin, Dublin, London, Ann Arbor and more. NYC and Mountain View are to come.
Here are their demands: pic.twitter.com/oiFkPRfRdr
— Katie Benner (@ktbenner) November 1, 2018
— kate conger (@kateconger) November 1, 2018
The protestors want Google to make public their sexual harassment transparency report. They have also asked that the chief diversity officer should be able to advise the board directly.
— Briana Wallace (@BrianaWallace) November 1, 2018
Google in denial
After The New York Times published the article, Google said that they are “Dead serious” when it comes to sexual harassment.
As stated by CNBC, in a mail addressed to all employees, Google CEO Sundar Pichai and People Operations’ Vice President Eileen Naughton had refuted the claims indirectly by stating they have severe intolerance towards sexual offence at the workplace. The company claimed to have fired 48 employees in the past two years over sexual harassment charges. In fact, 13 among the 48 offenders were reportedly holding senior managerial posts in the company.
On Thursday, Pichai at a conference in New York said, “We don’t run the company by referendum,” he added. “There are many good things about giving employees a lot of voice, out of that we have done well,” as reported by the Livemint. He also said that the outsiders might find the internal dynamics of the company a little chaotic, but the issue is not that intense that a lot have them have characterised.
Optimistic about the protest
A leader of the Black Googler Network, Demma Rodriguez, lamented that if Google wasn’t a place of equality for women, minorities and people with disabilities, “that means the company is failing everyone.”
A product marketing manager for YouTube, (Owned by Google) Claire Stapleton, who was one of the organisers of the walkout event, said she was amazed by the number of protesters turn out, and it was more than her expectations, as reported by The New York Times.
“We’re optimistic that we’ve opened a conversation about structural change here and elsewhere,” she added.
Written by : Ridhima Gupta
Edited by : Bharat Nayak