On November 1st, Google employees around the world walked off the job in protest and solidarity with women who have experienced harassment in the workplace. The employees are demanding extensive and decisive changes in how sexual misconduct allegations are dealt with at Google.
The walkout gathered more support than was initially anticipated with a park in New York designated as a gathering place for the event being filled to capacity. Thousands of employees from every Google office in the world including Montreal, New York City, London, Berlin, and Singapore.
Google chief executive Sundar Pichai has told staff he supports their right to take the action.
“I understand the anger and disappointment that many of you feel,” he said in an all-staff email. “I feel it as well, and I am fully committed to making progress on an issue that has persisted for far too long in our society… and, yes, here at Google, too.”
Anger at the firm reached boiling point after a ‘New York Times’ article alleged that one high profile executive received a $90 million payout after he left the firm. The payout was made despite what Google considered a “credible” allegation of sexual misconduct made against him. The executive in question is Andy Rubin, famously known as the “creator” of the Android mobile operating system. Rubin denies the allegation.
Google’s official and then unofficial motto was “Don’t be evil” until this year when it was removed from the company’s code of conduct. Google changed its official motto to “Do the right thing.”
The demands are:
An end to forced arbitration in cases of harassment and discrimination.
A commitment to end pay and opportunity inequality.
A publicly disclosed sexual harassment transparency report.
A clear, uniform, globally inclusive process for reporting sexual misconduct safely and anonymously.
Elevation of the Chief Diversity Officer to answer directly to the CEO and make recommendations directly to the Board of Directors.
Appoint an Employee Representative to the Board.