HR, ICT - Thousands Walk Out At Google
Thousands of Google workers walked out of offices across the world on Thursday to protest the way the company handles sexual misconduct and equality issues. They're demanding equal pay and an end to forced arbitration.
Originally called the "women's walk" protest, only a couple hundred of workers were expected to take part. Instead, workers from the Tokyo, Singapore, Berlin, Zurich, London, Dublin, and New York offices walked away from their desks and computers before the strike rolled around to Google's strongholds in Silicon Valley, San Francisco, and Venice, California. In San Francisco, Google worker Jennifer Brown carried a sign announcing that she had reported sexually harassment, and despite that the harasser was promoted.
They want Google to commit to a concrete policy on ending pay inequality, a clearer process for reporting sexual misconduct, and an end to forced arbitration in cases of harassment or discrimination, which critics say require the worker to sign away their right to sue and usually involves confidentiality agreements that allow the company to cover-up the true scope of misogyny in the workplace.
This was backlash to the revelations in the New York Times last week that Android software creator Andy Rubin was given a US$90 Million golden parachute in 2014 after being accused of sexual misconduct. Rubin and Google denied the report, and the company defended itself further by saying it had fired nearly 50 people since 2016 without granting them severance packages.
By Tuesday, Google chief executive Sundar Pichai realized that snapping at workers wasn't the greatest idea he's ever had and issued an email apology to employees stating that he was "deeply sorry for the past actions and the pain they have caused employees." On Wednesday, another head would roll: Parent company Alphabet announced it had sacked development executive Richard DeVaul - without severance - for sexually harassing a job applicant. He, too, denied it.