More Than 1,500 Google Workers to Stage Walkout Over Sexual Misconduct Handling
Google employees are preparing a walkout at company offices on Thursday to protest the tech giant's handling of workplace sexual harassment.
More than 1,500 workers, most of them women, plan to join the walkout, according to The New York Times. "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," company product manager Claire Stapleton reportedly told the publication.
Last week, The Times reported that Google had given two senior executives lucrative exit packages even though they resigned over credible sexual misconduct charges. One of the executives, Android founder Andy Rubin, was paid a whopping $90 million.
The huge payouts have been raising questions over whether Google has been taking workplace sexual harassment seriously. The protesting employees have started a Twitter account that's been circulating their demands. Among them is a call for Google to "end pay and opportunity inequity," and to start publishing a transparency report over sexual harassment cases at the company. The workers also want the ability to bring any workplace sexual harassment charges in court as opposed through company arbitration.
In response to the protest, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said in a statement: "Yesterday, we let Googlers know that we are aware of the activities planned for Thursday and that employees will have the support they need if they wish to participate."
"Employees have raised constructive ideas for how we can improve our policies and our processes going forward. We are taking in all their feedback so we can turn these ideas into action," he added.
The company hasn't denied any of the claims in The New York Times' original report about the huge payouts to the senior executives. But last week, Pichai and company VP Eileen Naughton told staffers in a companywide email that the tech giant does take sexual misconduct seriously.
In the same email, they revealed that the company has fired 48 employees for sexual harassment over the past two years. Thirteen of the employees were senior managers or above, and none received an exit package. "We want to assure you that we review every single complaint about sexual harassment or inappropriate conduct, we investigate and we take action," Pichai and Naughton said in the email.
Tomorrow's walkout will occur at Google campuses across the world. Employees will leave their workplaces at 11:10 a.m. local time. According to The Times, workers at Google's Tokyo offices will kick the protest off.