Google employees walk out to protest sexism, inequality
November 1, 2018 06:27 pm
Staff at Google offices around the world are staging an unprecedented series of walkouts in protest at the company’s treatment of women.
The employees are demanding several key changes in how sexual misconduct allegations are dealt with at the firm, including a call to end forced arbitration - a move which would make it possible for victims to sue.
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.”
A Twitter feed titled @googlewalkout has documented the movement at Google’s international offices.
Google staff in Zurich, London, Tokyo, Singapore and Berlin were among those to take part.
Anger at the firm has boiled over in the past week since the New York Times alleged that one high profile executive received a $90m payout after he left the firm, despite what Google considered a “credible” allegation of sexual misconduct made against him. Andy Rubin, known as the “creator” of the Android mobile operating system, denies the allegation.
On Tuesday, another executive - this time from the company’s X research lab - also resigned. Richard DeVaul was said to have made unwanted advances towards a woman who was recently interviewed for a job in which she would have reported to Mr DeVaul.
Mr DeVaul has not commented since his resignation, but in the past called the incident an “error of judgement”.
At least 48 other employees have been sacked for sexual harassment without receiving a payout, Mr Pichai told staff. He admitted the New York Times’ report had been “difficult to read”.